UAE Labour Law Question & Answers

UAE Labour Law Questions & Answers

UAE Labour Law

My friend was asked to resign soon after she got a job in UAE. Is she entitled to compensation ?

Question: My friend resigned from her job in mid-March to join a firm on an unlimited contract. Two days prior to joining, she was told that her start date was delayed and after another two and a half months, she was told that she needed to resign because the position was declared obsolete. During this period, she was furnished a visa, along with medical insurance, but no stipend for her day-to-day expenses. Is she entitled to any compensation for loss of income, or the salaries she never received because her starting date was pushed? 


We assume that your friend has signed an employment contract with her employer as she has been issued with a UAE residence visa. It should be noted that your friend’s official employment with her new employer commenced from the date the signed employment contract was approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) and General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA), as applicable.


Therefore, your friend is entitled to salaries as per the UAE Labour Law from the date her employment contract was approved by the MoHRE/GDRFA until the end of her employment.  

It is recommended that your friend approaches the administration or human resource department of her employer and request them to pay her salaries from the date her employment contract was approved. Further, your friend may consult a legal practitioner in the UAE.

What to do if UAE company claims it doesn’t have funds to pay gratuity ?

Question: I worked for a company in Ajman for 11 years. Recently, there has been a lot of issues with pending salaries at the firm, so I decided to submit my resignation. I am now concerned about my end-of-service benefits. If a company claims that it doesn’t have the funds to settle my dues, what are the legal actions I can take to demand payment?  


We assume that you have resigned from your employment by serving the stipulated notice period mentioned in your contract. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (Employment Law) and the subsequent resolutions issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) are applicable.

It should be noted that an employee in the UAE is entitled to end-of-service benefits if he/she has completed one year of continuous service with his/her employer. As you have completed 11 years, you are entitled to receive your severance pay, which is calculated based on 21 days’ basic salary for each year of your first five years in service and then 30 days’ salary for each year of the remaining period. This is in accordance with Article 132 of the Employment Law.

UAE Labour Law

If your employer does not pay your end-of-service benefits along with your pending salary, you may file a complaint with the MoHRE. And if the matter is not settled amicably between you and your employer, the ministry may issue a letter allowing both parties to file a case in court.

Once it is heard in court and the judgment is issued in your favour, your employer will be obliged to settle the amount mentioned in the ruling. You should then file execution proceedings against your employer. 

However, if the company still fails to settle the amount mentioned in the judgment, the execution court will attach the assets of your employer, sell them, and pay the amount due to you.

Article 4 of the Employment Law

This is in accordance with Article 4 of the Employment Law, which states: “All amounts payable to the employee or his beneficiaries under this law shall have lien on all the employer’s movable and immovable properties. And payment thereof shall be made immediately after payment of any legal expenses, sums due to the public treasury and Sharia alimony awarded to wife and children.” 

UAE labour law: Can you work for anyone else while on leave ?

Question: As per the UAE labour law does an employee have the right to work for another employer during their annual leave, especially if the annual leave is more than two months? What penalty is imposed and does the employer have the right to terminate your employment if you get caught doing this?

Answer: UAE Labour Law Federal Law No.8 of 1980, article 88, says, “No worker shall work for another employer while on annual leave or sick leave. Where the employer establishes that the employee has done so, he may terminate the employees services without notice and deprive the employee of remuneration in respect to the period of leave.”

Do you need to vacate company accommodation until given your last pay ?

I’ve worked in a company as a manager for five years on an unlimited contract, but two months ago I was terminated without reason. I have finished my notice and have handed over everything except my villa, which was provided for by the company. Now my company is not paying my end of service benefits and commission. I’ve been asked to vacate after being given one month notice, but how can I leave without getting my rights and do I have to?


Article No.131 Federal Law No.8 of 1980, says, ‘In cases where the employer provides accommodation to the employee, the worker is obliged to vacate within 30 days of termination. The employee cannot delay vacating for any reason, provided the employer has paid; severance and other entitlements in accordance with the contract. If the worker disagrees with the amount the labour department will determine, as a matter of urgency within a week of being notified, whether it is the right amount, and the worker will be informed of the same.

30 Day Grace

In this case, counting the 30 day grace period to vacate starts from the date the employer deposits the entitlements determined by the labour department. If the employee doesn’t vacate within 30 days, the department along with authorities can take necessary measures to evict. This doesn’t deprive the employee the right to take their case to court.’

Therefore, to answer the question, you don’t have to vacate until the employer pays you, as per Article 131, Paragraph 5.

UAE law to compensate an employee for a workplace accident ?

Are employers obliged under UAE law to compensate an employee for a workplace accident if it was discovered the employee was under the influence of drugs? What if it was discovered that the employee also flouted safety instructions?


Article No.153 of Federal Law No.8 of 1980 says ‘An injured worker is not entitled to compensation for injury or disability if inquiries by authorities find he willfully brought about his own injury with the intention of committing suicide, obtaining compensation or sick leave, or if at the time of the accident, the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the employee ignored safety instructions, or if the injury was a result of gross and deliberate misconduct on the employee’s part. Compensation is also not entitled if the employee refuses to undergo a medical exam or treatment in accordance with Article 148.’

In the above instances the employer is not required to provide treatment for the employee or pay them cash allowance.

When can you quit your job without serving notice in the UAE ?

Question: I have been working at a firm in Dubai Healthcare City Authority for over three years. I have not been paid for eight months. My employer does not intend to pay the money and claims he has none. All my colleagues are facing the same issue. I have managed to secure a job with a different employer and want to change my visa sponsorship. Can I do this without signing a document stating the I have received all my dues?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, as you are employed in a company which is regulated by Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations (the ‘Employment Law’) and Ministerial Decree No. (766) of 2015 on rules and conditions for granting a permit to an employee for employment by a new employer (the ‘Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015’) are applicable.

Article 121 of the Employment Law

It may be noted that in the UAE, an employee may leave his employment without notice if the employer does not fulfil his obligations towards the employee. This is in accordance with Article 121 of the Employment Law, which states: “The employee may leave the service without notice in the following cases:

a. If the employer does not fulfil his obligations towards the employee as provided for in the contract or in this Law.

b. If the employer of his legal regal representative has committed an act of assault against the employee.”

You may file a complaint with the Customer Protection Unit (CPU) of the Dubai Healthcare City Authority – Regulatory (DHCR) and request the CPU to allow you to work for your new employer.

Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015

This is in accordance with Article 1 (III) (1) of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015, which states: “The instances described in I- and II- of this article notwithstanding, an employee may be granted a new work permit if it is determined that the employer has failed to meet his legal or contractual obligations, including but not limited to when the employer fails to pay the employee’s wages for more than 60 days.”

Based on the aforementioned provision of law, upon filing a complaint with the CPU related to non-payment of salaries, you may also submit to them the copy of your offer letter from your new employer.

Consequently, the DHCA may cancel your current work permit and it may not close your complaint against your employer regarding non-payment of salaries along with your end of service benefits. If your employer does not agree on settlement by paying your pending salaries and end of service benefits, the CPU may provide you with a letter addressed by DHCA to the relevant court which has jurisdiction to hear your employment case in the UAE. 


Further, once the DHCA cancels your current work permit, you may approach the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in the emirate of Dubai and cancel your current UAE residence visa sponsored by your employer. Upon the cancellation of your UAE residence visa, you may inform the same to your new employer and request them to apply for your new work permit and UAE residence visa. However, you may still file an employment case against your employer in the court which has jurisdiction to hear the employment matter in the UAE based on the letter issued by DHCA addressed to the court regarding the employment complaint filed by you.

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