UAE: New Labour Rules for 2016

The Ministry of Labour has introduced a new labour law, containing three main decrees that are intended to create a more transparent and stable working relationship between employer and employee.

The first rule is that employers are now obligated to provide a clear and concise employment contract, which details all duties and rights pertaining to both parties, which must be issued in the native language of the employee. This must be preceded by a letter of offer of employment, detailing the full job description. The employment contract must be signed by both parties, and must not be altered in any way, before being submitted to request a work permit issuance. Should any amendments need to be made to the contract after registration, these can only be made with the consent of both parties and under Ministry approval.

The second rule is in regard to termination of contracts. The Ministry of Labour has decided to scrap their previous rule that any employee who terminates their work contract within two years will be banned from joining new employment for six months. Under the new rule, provided that the employer and employee mutually agree to the termination, any employee in Skill Categories One to Three can now move into new employment with immediate effect. Employees in Skill Categories Four and Five can also move into new employment with immediate effect, providing that they have completed six months service with their existing employer.

Rules have also been put in place for either party terminating a contract. Fixed-term contracts of no more than two years can be terminated within this period if mutually agreed by both parties. A renewed contract can be terminated unilaterally providing that the party follows the legal procedure of writing to the other party to inform them of the termination, and abides by all contractual requirements for the duration of the notice period, which can be no less than one and no more than three months.

The final rule refers to granting work permits for new employment. A new work permit can be issued provided that all of the above rules have been followed, and that the employee has not been found to be non-compliant with the terms of their employment contract and/or the law. A new work permit will also be issued if it is found that the employer has not complied with its contractual obligations. Any work permit that has been issued will be rendered null and void, should it become apparent that the information provided in order to obtain it was false.

The full details of all three decrees can be found here.

Should you need further information on labour laws or employment in the United Arab Emirates, please contact us.

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