UAE labour laws: how to secure part-time work or a second job

Major changes to labour rules this week have opened the door to more employment opportunities, including weekend and evening shifts

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Sweeping changes to the UAE's labour laws could pave the way for an army of weekend and evening workers as part-time job opportunities increase.

The biggest overhaul of workplace legislation in decades came into effect on February 2, providing a new layer of flexibility for employees.

It allows for a part-time work model in which it is possible to secure multiple jobs, as long as work hours per week do not exceed 48.

This type of work model would benefit those who want to earn an extra income, especially stay-at-home parents, young people aged 15 to 18 eager to get a foot on the career ladder, and full-time workers who can get approval from their employer to secure additional part-time employment.

The National explains how residents can secure multiple sources of income through some of the new work models.

Part-time workers

Once a person gets a part-time work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, he or she can start working for an employer offering a part-time job.

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.

Also included in the list of permits 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.

Many companies have already started posting part-time job adverts online, especially for weekend and evening work.

These work hours help companies expand operations by hiring temporary workers, which cost less than full-time contracts, while residents can secure multiple jobs, boosting their earnings substantially.

For example, a hotel near the Dubai World Trade Centre was looking to hire an events logistics executive to work four hours each day, for pay of Dh250 to Dh350 per hour.

A visa services company was looking for a sales executive to work 6.5 hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

The length of contract would depend on the employer.

Karuna Agarwal, director of Future Tense HR in the UAE, said there is good demand for part-time workers, including in the social media, accounts, digital marketing and photography sectors.

“We have ​noticed companies eager to hire part-time ​employees​ especially for a weekend opportunity,” said Ms Agarwal, whose company has more than 100 clients across the country.

“This sort of flexibility in the mindset of the employers ​​brings about great opportunities for the working population to make more money, lead a better lifestyle and fund their hobbies, and for employers this optimises their cost of operation largely.”

The new labour law also allows employees to combine work models. Part-time workers could also work remotely, if approved by their employer.

Full-time workers

Employees with full-time employment contracts can also secure a part-time work permit, after seeking approval from their employer and the ministry.

However, their total hours per week also should not exceed 48.

A standard working day is eight to nine hours per day, which means employees have a few additional hours they can use during the evenings or on weekends for part-time work.

“What it will mean is that people are able to work weekends for a different company,” David Mackenzie, managing director of recruitment firm Mackenzie Jones, said.

“It means you can expand your footprint, your business, on a fixed cost, rather than employing somebody else to do that.

“So, rather than squeeze the person that's working 18 hours a day anyway, you can give them a bit of flexibility.

“Now they have some time out and they recharge, and then you have somebody at the weekend who does that job and gets an additional pay. It’s a very good way of people being very flexible with their workforce.”

For full-time workers who do not get approval for part-time work, there are other legal ways to earn a side income.

These include participating in flea markets, renting out property once a trade license from the economic department is secured, and freelance online work.

Updated: February 05, 2022, 3:30 AM