New Employment Laws

New Employment Laws Will Come into Effect Starting February 2022

Starting February 2022, everything becomes new.

Protecting employees’ rights and bringing more flexibility into the workplace is what the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization did to improve the work environment for the employees as well as the employers.

From working hours to annual leaves, the Government of the UAE thought about everyone.

Have you ever kept on working overtime? Well, say goodbye to the tiring old days. With New Labor Laws, employees cannot work over 5 consecutive hours without at least a one-hour break. Hold on! This is not everything. Overtime hours cannot exceed 2 hours. If the nature of the job requires more than 2 hours overtime, employees will benefit from an overtime wage equivalent to regular hour pay with 25% increase. If the employees must work between 10pm and 4am, they will receive an overtime wage equivalent to regular pay with a 50% increase. Each rule has its own exception: employees on a shift basis are excluded from this rule.

Starting February 2022, any employee who works on a day off, must receive an overtime wage equivalent to the regular day pay with a 50% increase or benefit from a one-day leave.

Let’s be honest: who doesn’t like days off? Employees must be entitled to at least one paid day off per week. Yes, you read it right! At least one paid day off every week, with the option of increasing weekly rest days at the employer’s discretion.

The Government of UAE thought about pregnant women too! Maternity leave can be extended to 60 days in the private sector.

Bereavement leave can be between 3 to 5 days depending on the degree of kinship of the deceased.

If employees are enrolled in an accredited institution in the UAE and they have been working for 2 years with their employers, they are entitled to a 10-day study leave per year.

Contracts must not exceed 3 years. They can be renewable for the same period or less if both parties agree.

Employees can work for 40 hours a week on a condensed working hours’ model – provided that the contract allows it – instead of 48 hours.

The Government is shedding the light on granting women the same wages as men when they do the same task.

Notice periods have now been capper at 3 months whereas the minimum notice period is still 30 days.

Any bullying, sexual harassment, verbal, physical or psychological violence, and any type of discrimination against workers is prohibited according to UAE Labor Laws.

Employers are responsible for all costs and expenses associated with recruiting and employment and shall not recuperate them in a direct or indirect way from the employee.

Employers are forbidden from seizing employees’ official documents, and employees should not be coerced to leave the country after their employment period has ended.

Payment for unused vacation days shall be based solely on the basic wage at the time of termination of the employment.

Final settlements must be paid by the employer within 14 days after the employee’s employment is terminated.

Employees have the right to look for other jobs. During the notice period, the employee will be entitled to one day off per week to hunt for new work if the employer offers such notice.

Employees can resign without notice if: (1) the employer violates their obligations and fails to correct such breach within 14 days of the employees notifying MOHRE of such breach; (2) in case of harassment or violence, employees will notify MOHRE within 5 working days.

According to the New UAE Labor Law, if employers want to protect their business interests, they must enter a non-compete agreement with their employees. Whereas, in accordance with article 127 of the current employment law, employers do not need to enter a non-compete agreement to protect their business because the current labor law prohibits employees from working for a prospective employer who operates a business that competes with their current/former employer.

During the probationary period, an employer can terminate an employee’s contract by giving the employee 14 days’ written notice.

Workers will be exempted from judicial fees of up to 100,000 AED, including all stages of litigation and execution, as well as petitions made by workers.

If an employee wishes to move to another employer based in the United Arab Emirates, he/she can terminate the contract during the probationary period by notifying the employer in writing at least one month in advance. In this case, the new UAE Labor Code provides that the new employer will indemnify the previous employer for the cost of hiring the employee. If an employee wishes to leave the UAE during the probationary period, the employee may terminate employment with at least 14 days prior written notice. In similar cases, if the employee returns to the UAE and gets a work permit from MOHRE within three months after leaving, the new employer will cover the employee’s recruiting fees prior to the previous hire.

Employers may be fined up to 1,000,000 AED for violations of the new UAE Labor Code. If more than one employee is affected by such a breach, such fines may be increased.

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