New UAE labour laws give employees six new work models to suit flexible job market

Twelve types of permits are available including job shares and one allowing 15-18-year-olds to work

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Latest: UAE embarks on biggest labour law shake-up in years

Work permits based on new work models announced last year will be issued by the government from Wednesday.

Twelve types of permits will be available, giving employees in the private sector the ability to choose from six different work models under the new labour law.

The amended labour laws, which were first outlined by the government in November, provide options that were not available before, strengthening employees' rights.

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Diverse work models provide flexibility that meets different needs and attracts talents from all over the world
Dr Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation

The six work models on offer are: conventional full-time work, remote work, shared jobs, part-time, temporary and flexible employment contracts.

An example of one of the new permits includes one granted to juveniles aged between 15 and 18 to allow them to work at an establishment registered at the ministry.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will start issuing the different permits for these models on Wednesday.

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What are the six work models available?

  • 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.

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“The new labour law provides flexibility for employees and employers to determine the type of their contractual agreement that meets the interests of both parties,” said Abdulrahman Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

He said the Executive Regulations, recently approved by the Cabinet, laid out the conditions that govern each job model and outline the responsibilities of both employees and employers.

A student training permit can now also be applied for, to allow the training and employment of teenagers over 15 years of age by ministry-registered establishments.

A permit from the ministry will also be required to employ Emirati citizens, citizens of GCC countries and Golden Visa holders.

Residents who wish to work on their own visa without sponsorship or signing a contract with an employer can apply for an independent business permit.

Other permits include one for hiring a worker from outside the country, transferring a worker’s employment from one facility registered in the ministry to another, and one for non-citizens sponsored by a family member.

Also included in the list is a temporary work permit, and a “one-mission” permit that allows employers to hire someone from abroad to work on a specific job until its completion or for a fixed period of time.

According to the new law, the end-of-service gratuity and annual leave allocation of each job model will be set out in a contract that safeguards the rights of both parties.

The changes will allow employees to combine more than one job model as long as they do not work for more than a maximum of 48 hours a week.

They can also change contracts from one work model to another, with the agreement of their employer.

“Diverse work models provide flexibility that meets different needs and attracts talents from all over the world,” Dr Al Awar said.

Private sector companies have until February 2, 2023, to change their employees’ unlimited work contracts into three-year employment contracts. The worker's service period will consist of all extended or renewed contracts.

Contracts must include the nature of the work, including joining date, place of work, working hours, rest days, and probationary period if any, the duration of the contract, and the agreed wage.

Benefits and allowances, period of due annual leave, warning period, procedures for terminating the contract and any other data determined by the ministry, must also be included in the contract.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 6:48 AM