The UAE has made its first major change to employment law in over 40 years. The new labor law, which will come into effect on February 2nd 2022, has been designed to help private sector businesses to gain new talent, outlining regulations for the protection of employees’ rights. As CEO of more than one company, Ryan Mahoney, UAE real estate expert, welcomes the new law. The Federal Decree represents one of the comprehensive amendments to UAE labor law in history.

Rapid Changes to the Workplace

The driving force behind the implementation of the new labor law (according to a statement from Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE) was the rapidly changing workplace environment. A combination of new technological advances and the response over the past two years to the global pandemic have caused a seismic shift in the work environment. The new law will help protect workers across all categories, including full and part-time, enhancing sustainability and flexibility for the workforce.

You can view the embedded short video to find out more about the definition of flexible working. 

Flexible Working Arrangements

COVID-19 forced the implementation of more flexible working arrangements, with many people encouraged to work from home rather than the office wherever possible to help slow down transmission of the virus. These were previously not expressed within current UAE law. The new legislation includes provision for workers to enjoy part-time, flexible, and temporary working arrangements and acknowledges remote working even outside the UAE.

You can view the PDF attachment to look at the rise of remote working around the world throughout the pandemic and beyond.

Working Hours and Overtime

Working hours and overtime are also covered under the new law. Restrictions for employers include: ensuring each employee has a minimum of one hour’s break if they work for five consecutive hours and limiting regular overtime to no more than two hours in each day. Regulations will be put in place for financial compensation for employees who work more than two hours’ overtime, equivalent to regular pay plus 25%, or plus 50% if the overtime hours fall between 10pm and 4am. This does not apply to shift workers. All employees will also be legally entitled to at least one paid day off per week.

You can see more key amendments to the updated labor law in the UAE in the attached infographic.