What are the working hours in UAE?

Employees who are looking to pursue their career in UAE often come up with a question, “What are the working hours in UAE”? 

To answer this question and get full details of working hours in UAE, read the blog below.

The major source of Employment Law in the UAE is Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 (UAE Labour Law). This law applies to all full-time employees who are working in the UAE except government and municipal employees, domestic servants and agricultural workers. 

This blog covers all the details regarding legal working hours in UAE, overtime and other related matters.

Rules on Working Hours in UAE

working hours in uae

When it comes to what are the working hours in UAE, rest periods and other related concerns, let’s understand what UAE Labour Law says about it. First of all, it should be noted that provisions of UAE Labour Law do not apply to employees working at managerial levels/supervisory positions.

  • According to Article 65 of UAE Labour Law, the maximum working hours per day is 8 hours, that is 48 hours per week but it can be 9 hours for those employees who are working in the hotel industry and some other selected industries etc.
  • The number of working hours may be reduced for those who are working in certain harmful industries or doing some strenuous jobs.
  • Article 65 states that during Ramadan these working hours are reduced by 2 hours.
  • Working hours patterns may vary from company to company but a working culture of 9 AM to 6 PM is common in the private sector.
  • Time spent by employees commuting from home to workplace and workplace to home is not included in the working hours of an employee

Rest periods, meals and prayers in UAE

There is a famous saying that that goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. 

This statement states that along with work it is necessary to provide rest periods, meals and prayer time to employees to ensure that employees get sufficient rest time to recover. The following are the rest period rules according to UAE Labour Law:

  • Workers should not work continuously for five hours without stopping for rest, meals or prayers as it can result in health issues.
  • The total period for this should not be less than one hour. These periods should not be included in the working hours.
  • For jobs that involve continuous hours of work without interruption, the Ministry of Labour regulates the rest periods, meals and prayers for them

Overtime (Article 67 and Article 68) in UAE

UAE Labour Law states the rule for overtime of employees in the organization. Overtime refers to the amount of time that employees work over and above the normal working hours. Following are the overtime rules for organizations:

  • If an employee is required to work beyond his normal working hours his salary amounts to regular hourly wage plus 25% of the defined rate. Article 69 states that under no circumstances the overtime working hours exceed two hours.
  • If an employee provides overtime between 9 pm and 4 am then that employee is entitled to a regular hourly wage plus 50% of the defined rate. This rule does not apply to those employees who are working in shifts.

Government employees are not governed by the Federal Decree Law.

Rest Day (Article 70) in UAE

It is necessary to provide a rest day to all the employees.

  • UAE had moved its Friday-Saturday weekend to Saturday-Sunday weekend. This reform came on January 1, 2022.
  • Working hours for public sector employees now start at 7:30 am and run till 3:30 pm on Friday.
  • The three day weekend for government employees was a huge success as it increases 88 percent overall productivity in all government agencies. Government employees are required to work from Monday to Thursday followed by a three day weekend from Friday to Sunday.
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Public holidays in UAE

According to UAE Labour Law, specific rules are defined for working on public holidays in UAE :

  1. Article 74 of UAE Labour Law states that employees are entitled to official leave with full pay on account of public holidays
  2. Article 81 states that if under any circumstances employees had to work on public holidays they would receive:
  • A substitute leave and 50% payout of their daily wage.
  • Or, the payment of 150% of their daily wage

Annual Leave Salary Calculation UAE

According to Article 75 of UAE Labour Law employees who have completed more than a year in the organization are entitled to 30 days of annual leave per calendar year. Those employees who have completed more than 6 months but less than a year are entitled to 2 leaves per month they have worked.

Under the following conditions, the employer can ask employees to work on their annual leaves:

  • Annual leave should be carried forward to the next year
  • Employees should be paid for working on their annual leave. According to Article 78 of UAE Labour Law, the payment made for working on annual leave is calculated as Basic wage of employee + Leave allowance for the days worked

Compassionate Leave in UAE

There are no provisions under the UAE Labour Law that entitle employees to get compassionate leaves on the death of family members.

For those workers who are working in the private sector, such leave purely depends upon the final discretion of the employer. Employers can count compassionate leave as part of their annual leave.

Employees who are working in the government sector are not governed by the UAE Labour Law. They enjoy enhanced rights as compared to those employed in the private sector.

For example- Public sector employees in the UAE get paid bereavement leaves in case of the death of a spouse or a relative.

Hajj Leave in UAE - Pilgrimage Leave

Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. It is a mandatory religious duty of all Muslims working in the UAE. 

People who are financially and physically capable must carry out this sacred duty at least once in a lifetime. UAE Labour Law states that employees are entitled to 30 days of unpaid leave for Hajj.

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