For United Arab Emirates nationals, employment is a fundamental right.

If national workers are not available then preference is given to workers from other Arab nationalities followed by other nationalities.

The Labour Department established a section with the following responsibilities:

  • Focused to employ nationals.
  • Availability of suitable job options for citizens.
  • Assisting companies in finding local labour to fill their needs.
  • Maintaining a separate registration for people looking for better jobs and unemployed persons.

The following requirements must be met to grant work permits to get employed in UAE:

  • Approval from the Labour Department and obtaining a work permit in line with the procedures established by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
  • Employee possesses the educational credentials and professional experience the state requires.
  • Employee entered the country legally and complies with the requirements set forth by the State’s current residence regulations.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs may cancel a non-national work permit:

  • If the employee is without a job for more than three consecutive months.
  • If the employee does not meet one or more of the requirements established to grant the permit.
  • If it is found that a specific national employee is qualified to take the employee’s position. The employee shall continue his duties until the expiry of the contract or the work permit.

Women Employment

Health and Safety Measures

Women are prohibited from working in jobs that are dangerous, harmful, or bad for their morality or health. The minister of labour and social affairs may decide to prohibit it after consultation with the relevant authorities.

Equal Wages

Everyone who works must be paid for their labour.

Every woman must be paid equal to a man for the same kind of work, not less.

Prohibition of Night Work

No woman shall be obliged to work in a workplace or be permitted to work between the hours 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The following situations are exempt from the rule on women working at night.

  1. If there is an occurrence of force majeure that prevents the establishment’s work from continuing.
  2. Hold accountable managerial and technical positions.
  3. Women who are employed in the healthcare industry are determined by the minister of labour and social affairs.
Maternity Benefits

The Maternity Benefit sets rules for women’s employment in specific workplaces during specific times before and after childbirth and offers maternity benefits.

If a woman has worked for the company continuously for at least a year, she is eligible for Maternity leave with full pay for a total of 45 days. The amount of benefit for the maternity leave will only be half if she has not completed the required amount of service.

If an illness occurred during pregnancy or after delivery and unable to work again, she may take additional days of unpaid leave on top of the basic maternity leave. These leave days can be consecutive or irregular. A medical certificate from a medical authority attested by the relevant health authority or endorsing that the sickness was caused by pregnancy or delivery must be used as proof of such disease. These leave cannot be added to other leave types.

A working mother who is nursing her child has the right to take two additional breaks each day. Each break neither exceeds half an hour. Such breaks are allowed for 18 months after delivery and will be included as working hours and won’t result in a decrease in pay.

Employment of Juveniles

Anyone under the age of fifteen is not allowed to work.

A minor must fulfill the following conditions before they can work:

  • Birth certificate to prove age.
  • Written consent from the juvenile‚Äôs parent or legal representative.
  • A medical certificate of fitness for the necessary work.
Work Hours

The actual working hours must not exceed six hours a day. One or more breaks should be provided throughout working hours for reasons of relaxing, eating, or praying. Such break time should not be shorter than one hour. Planning these breaks will ensure that no child works for longer than four hours nonstop. They are not allowed to work overtime, remain on the job site after regular work hours, or work on holidays.

Health and Safety Measures

Juveniles are not allowed to work in jobs that are dangerous, demanding, or harmful to health, and safety. The minister of labour and social affairs may decide to prohibit it after consultation with the relevant authorities.

Prohibition of Night Work

No juveniles may work overnight on industrial projects, a period of not less than twelve hours that includes the hours between 8 pm to 6 a.m.

This blog is based on UAE Federal Law no.8 of 1980