The Federal Decree Law no. 33 of 2021, regulating labour relations, will be effective in the private sector from February 2, 2022, and is the most significant amendment of its kind since the law’s establishment.
The new law is part of the Government’s efforts to create a flexible and competitive work environment and to highlight a few new work models such as:
- Part-time work, temporary work and flexible work
- Freelancing, condensed working weeks, shared job models and self-employment.
- Condensed working weeks will allow employees to choose to finish their 40 hours in 3 days instead of one week as per the contract signed.
- Shared job will allow two people to share the same job and split the pay based on an agreement with the employer
- Flexibility to work on a project, hourly, or for different employers.
- Replacement of the ‘Unlimited’ contracts with ‘Limited’ contracts for a period of 3 years and renewable as per agreement of both parties. This law will also resolve to convert all employment contracts from unlimited to limited within one year of enforcement of the law.
Judicial fee exemptions
- Employers must bear the fees and expenses of recruitment and employment, and legally are not allowed to recover these costs directly or indirectly from the employee.
- Employers are not allowed to confiscate employee’s official documents such as passports, certificates, etc.
Leave (introductory of new leave days)
- Mourning leave ranging from 3-5 days depending on the relationship of the deceased.
- 5 days parental leave
- Following 2 years of service, employees are entitled to a 10-day study leave per year provided that they are enrolled in an accredited institution within the UAE.
- Maternity leave extended to 60 days: 45 days with full wage, followed by 15 days on half wage.
- In addition, 45 days without pay leave upon completion of their initial maternity leave in case of any past-partum complications or ailment in the newborn. Supportive medical documents will have to be provided to apply for sick leave.
- New mothers of infants with special needs are entitled to a 30-day paid leave after the completion of their initial maternity leave period, renewable for another 30 days with no pay.
Working hours and overtime wage
- Employees are prohibited to work over 5 consecutive hours without at least 1 hour break. No more than 2 hours of overtime allowed in one day for workers.
- Should the nature of the job require more than 2 hours overtime, employees need to be compensated with an overtime wage equivalent to regular hour pay with a 25% increase.
- If employees work overtime between 10 pm and 4 am, they are entitled to an overtime wage equivalent to regular hour pay with a 50% increase.
- If employees are asked to work on a day off, they should receive a one-day leave or an overtime wage equivalent to the regular day pay with a 50% increase.
Prohibition of discrimination, bullying by employers
- Employees are protected against sexual harassment, bullying or the use of verbal, physical or psychological violence by their employers, superiors, and colleagues.
- Prohibition of discrimination in jobs based on race, colour, sex, religion, nationality, or disability.
- Women to be granted the same wages as men when performing the same task or other duties of equal value
Employment of teenagers
- The employment of teenagers (over 15 years) permissible under conditions.
- Not allowed to work more than 6 hours a day with 1 hour break (written consent required by guardian)
- Not allowed to work on shifts from 7 pm to 7 am.
Non-disclosure and noncompetitive clause
- Employers are allowed to prohibit employees from competing with the employer within the same sector – provided that the condition is specified in terms of time, place and type of work. Period of non-competition shall not exceed 2 years from the date of contract expiry.
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