UAE implementing new labor law from 2 February 2022


​​​published on 19 November 2021 | reading time approx. 2 minutes

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a new labor Law in the private sector across different work models, including part-time and temporary work, along with protecting employee rights and introducing new leave policies, in addition to protecting employees against mobbing, sexual harassment, bullying, or the use of verbal, physical, or psychological violence by their employers, superiors, and colleagues.


The new law will be implemented starting from February 2nd 2022. The employment contracts shall be amended within one year, however, despite the fact that the previous law N' 8 of the year 1980 has been canceled, and based on the agreement of the parties, both employee and employer could agree to keep the enforcement of several clauses of the law N' 8 of the year 1980.


The Federal Decree Law no. 33 of 2021 comes with significant amendment of its kind since the law's establishment, below mis the summary of few amendments:


One Type of employment contract "Limited duration contract"

An innovation of the Act is the definition of a limited contract (also referred to as a fixed-term contract), which may not exceed three years. This may then be renewed for a shorter or similar period by mutual agreement of both parties. The updating of all existing contracts must be done within one year of the entry into force of this new law.


Termination of employment contract during the probation

The probationary period may not exceed a period of 6 months. Under the old law, both the employee and the employer had the right to terminate the employment contract during the probationary period without notice and thus without any claims. The new Decree 33, on the other hand, obliges the terminating party to inform the other party with 14 days' notice, and in some cases even with one month's notice. Furthermore, the new law additionally provides several rights for both parties.


Prolonging the maternity leave period

Another innovation is the extension of maternity leave in the private sector to 60 days, with leave for 45 days at full pay, followed by 15 days at half pay. In addition, mothers of children with special needs are entitled to an additional 30 days of paid leave at the end of their first maternity leave, which can be extended for an additional 30 days without pay.


Leaves in the private sector

Notwithstanding public holidays and the normal agreed annual leaves, the Employees are entitled one day paid off with the possibility of increasing weekly rest days at the discretion of the company. Furthermore, employees may also be entitled to a number of additional days of leave. For example, in the event of a bereavement, there may be an entitlement to 3-5 days of leave, depending on the degree of relationship of the deceased, or a five-day parental leave for the father. All other paid leave benefits are decided by the Council of Ministers.


In addition, after two years of employment, the employer is entitled to one 10-day study leave per year to pursue further education in the field of work, with the training to be completed at an accredited institution in the UAE.


The New labor law N' 33 for the year 2021 comes to regulate and to create a flexible and competitive work environment, and the Ministry of Human Resource will issue the executive regulations to regulate in details all aspects of the new law.

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