Working Hours in UAE

Work is a central part of our life. Looking closely at how much time we spend working can tell us a lot about our lives and cultures because it is so fundamental. Working time means when a person spends time performing work. Working Hours in UAE are subject to UAE labour law, except for government, municipal, army/police, domestic staff, and agricultural workers.

We are all aware that working excessive hours reduces our general health and productivity over the long term. As per the Labour law, employees may work up to eight hours per day, or forty-eight hours per week. The working hours in UAE for those employed by businesses, hotels, restaurants, watchmen, and similar operations may be expanded to nine hours per day.

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs may also decide to reduce the number of hours that may be worked each day when performing dangerous or unhealthy tasks. The regular working hours will be reduced by two hours during the month of Ramadan. No employee may work more than five hours continuously without a break for rest, food, or prayer. They shall be provided with break times for relaxation, food, and prayer. In factories and workshops, work is scheduled on a night-and-day shift. Any additional time worked longer than the usual number of hours is considered overtime.

Women and work hours

Women are prohibited from working in jobs that are dangerous, harmful, or bad for their health. No woman shall be obliged to work in a workplace or be permitted to do so unless between the hours 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Juveniles and work hours

Juveniles under the age of fifteen is not permitted to work. The actual working hours must not exceed six hours a day. No juveniles may work overnight on industrial projects, a period of not less than twelve hours that includes the working hours in UAE between 8 pm to 6 a.m.

The following categories are exempt from these working hours:

  • Individuals who hold senior positions in management or supervision are held by those who have authority over employees. The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs will determine this category.
  • Seaport workers who are involved in loading and unloading and related tasks, except ship crews and seamen who operate under specific service conditions according to the nature of their profession.
  • Businesses whose technical nature necessitates shift work.


The private sector workers frequently have to put in extra time and work past their regular shifts to increase productivity and meet company goals.

When the job necessitates an employee to work longer than the usual number of hours, any additional time performed is considered overtime. The employee is compensated with the normal hourly rate plus at least a 25% bonus.

Employers cannot demand employees to work overtime. Employees’ consent is essential.

Employees who work overtime between 9:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. are entitled to their regular salary as well as an increase of at least 50% of that compensation.

Friday is a regular off day for all employees, except for those who are paid daily. If the employee is requested to work on Friday or a rest day, he or she must be given one day off for rest or receive at least a 50% increase on top of the base wage for regular working hours.

An employee may not work on more than two consecutive Friday or rest days, except for daily wage workers.

There is a limit to working overtime. Actual overtime is limited to two hours per day unless it’s required to stop a serious accident, prevent a significant loss, or lessen the impact of one. The total number of hours that may be worked, including overtime, is 144 hrs each three weeks.

Work Schedule

A schedule outlining the weekly day off, hours of work, and break intervals that apply to all classes of employees. It must be posted by the employer in a prominent location at the workplace. A copy of this schedule must be submitted to the appropriate labour department.

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