المقالات القانونية / قانون العمل

Know Your Labor Rights



January 26, 2012

Some Employees do not know their rights upon the termination of their employment contracts, so the issue has to be carefully considered.


This article shall elaborate on the duties of employers regarding the registration of employees and the rights of employees after the termination of their labour contracts in the UAE.

In general terms, all expatriate employees who wish to work in the UAE must be employed by an appropriately licensed and approved company and must be issued an entry permit for employment purposes, a labour card (work permit) and a residence visa.

Some Employees do not know their rights upon the termination of their employment contracts, so the issue has to be carefully considered.

Comply with the Law

Employment relations in the private sector in the UAE are governed and regulated by Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021, on Regulation of Labor Relations.

Employing foreign workers in the UAE entails complying with certain registration procedures such as residence visas. If an employee doesn’t have work permission and/or company sponsorship, article 6 of the Labor Law obliges the employer employing a foreigner to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor.

The Labor Law is protective of employees in general and supersedes conflicting contractual provisions agreed upon under another jurisdiction unless they are beneficial to the employee. Furthermore, this rule applies to the Free Zones taking into account that there is no work permit.

Probation Period and Seven Rights

It is important to note that any provision of the labour contract is invalid if it either contradicts the UAE labour law or conflicts with the public interest. These provisions can relate to the establishment of a probation period, gratuity, notice period, salary or any penalty applied to the employee. According to the Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 probation period cannot exceed six months.

The Labor Law provides the Employees with mainly six rights that have to be followed by the employer upon the termination of the labour contract. According to the Labor Law, an employee terminating his contract has the rights to:

  1. Get his/her unpaid salary;

  2. Get charges for extra hours of work;

  3. Have annual leave;

  4. Get gratuity (21 days basic remuneration for every year of the first five years of service and 1 month any year after.);

  5. Notice period salary; and

  6. Get compensation for unfair dismissal (of a maximum of three months' wages).

Apart from these six rights, there can be additional rights which are included in the contract such as commission and bonuses.

However, if the termination happens within the probation period, which can be 6 months or less depending on the contract, the employee will not be entitled to claim the rights mentioned above. He will only be entitled to unpaid salary and charges for extra hours of work. The bar time on labour matters for Dubai-based companies is 1 year from the moment of termination of the labour contract.

How to Claim the Rights?

It is significant that in order for an employee to be able to apply for Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation regarding any legal matter, he/she should have or have work permission and/or company sponsorship. Otherwise, the Ministry will not deal with the matter.

The Ministry is the main body responsible for the regulation of manpower recruitment and it plays a substantial role in settling labour differences between employers and employees. It should be noted that all labour disputes must initially be submitted to the Ministry for amicable settlement if the company is onshore.

Free Zones have their labour laws. Employees in the free zones are subject to the rules and regulations of the respective free zones.

The application is then handed to the concerned labour authority, who will arrange a meeting between the employee and the employer. The goal of such a meeting is to come to a settlement of the issue.

One may wonder about the reasons for going through the above-mentioned steps. Indeed, it is one of the most important requirements of the Labor Code. Applying these labour authorities helps people to settle a high rate of issues between employers and employees.

Moreover, such measures save time and decrease the number of cases before the courts. However, the lawyers are not able to attend the meetings with the labour authorities. This step has to be made personally by the employee. The filing of a claim to labour authorities does not cost anything, which can be counted as an additional benefit of this procedure.

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