Explainer: All you need to know about the new UAE labour law

The law introduced 12 types of work permits and six types of work patterns under which contractual relationships are established

Abu Dhabi: The new labour law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has come into effect from February 2, 2022, replacing Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.

The laws were first documented on September 20, 2021 and announced to the public on November 15, 2021.

The new law has come into effect with major reforms that safeguard the rights of employees in the private sector.

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Among the main changes are shorter, fixed-term contracts for most private sector employees, the ability to stay in the country for 180 days after leaving your job, and the introduction of job quotas, which may suit students and people returning to the workplace. There are major changes to maternity leave.

Here’s what we know about the law so far

Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Manan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said the new law will enhance the position of the UAE labour market as one of the most prominent and important global labour markets, and will enhance its flexibility, efficiency and ease of work.

The law introduced 12 types of work permits and six types of work patterns under which contractual relationships are established.

Six types of work

  • Full-time: Working for one employer for a full work day.
  • Remote work: The scheme enables full-time and part-time employees to work completely or partially outside the office should the nature of their work allow it.
  • Shared job model: Splitting job responsibilities and pay among more than one employee based on an agreement with the employer. The employees’ contracts under this model are governed by part-time job regulations.
  • Part-time: Working for one or more employers for a specified number of hours or days.
  • Temporary work: A contract for a specific period of time or for one project that ends with the job’s completion.
  • Flexible work: Giving employees the freedom to work at different times depending on the conditions and requirements of the job based on a contract that covers hours, days and duties required.

12 work permits

  • Temporary work permit: enables employers to hire on a project basis or for work that lasts for a fixed period.
  • One-mission permit: enables companies and establishments to recruit an employee from abroad for temporary work or a specific project to be completed in a certain period of time.
  • Part-time work permit: allows employees to work for more than one employer based on a fixed number of hours or days.
  • Juvenile permit: enables employers to hire juveniles aged between 15 and 18 under the conditions outlined in the law.
  • Student training permit: enables companies and establishments to train and recruit teenagers aged 15 under specific regulations that ensure a healthy work environment.
  • UAE/GCC National permit: issued when hiring UAE and GCC nationals.
  • Golden Visa Holders permit: issued when hiring a Golden Visa holder inside the UAE.
  • National Trainee permit: enables companies and establishments to train UAE nationals based on their qualifications or fields.
  • Freelancer permit: issued for self-sponsored expats wishing to provide a certain service, complete a task or work for a fixed period of time for an individual or a company without sponsorship or existing contracts.
  • A permit to hire a worker from outside the country.
  • A permit to transfer an expatriate worker’s employment from one facility registered in the ministry to another.
  • A permit for expats sponsored by family.

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