UAE labour law: Part-time jobs for over-15s to 'boost business and empower youth'

New regulations open up opportunities for young people to experience the world of work, experts say

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A key change to UAE labour law allowing children aged 15 and over to take on part-time jobs is set to provide a boost for employers and open up new career opportunities for young people, experts have said.

Revisions to the way employment in the private sector operates were first outlined in November.

Several of the changes mark major developments that are set to shake-up the work landscape in the UAE, including job shares and extended visas for jobseekers after leaving a job.

Now, employers can also offer those aged 15 and above part-time paid work, a move that is set to have a big impact on the hospitality sector.

Typically, students are in class during the day so we expect to see many looking for evening shift work, which is our busiest time
Tapan Vaidya, Papa John’s Pizza

Tapan Vaidya, chief executive of Papa John’s Pizza in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, said he expects to see an influx of applications from young people looking to take on evening and weekend shifts.

“This is a real boon for our industry. I used to wait on tables as a teen myself and that is what made me fall in love with the restaurant business,” he said,

“This kind of paid experience is invaluable to young people.

Tapan Vaidya, chief executive of Papa John’s Pizza in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, expects the law change to lead to an influx of job applications from younger people.  Ruel Pableo for The National

“Typically, students are in class during the day, so we expect to see many looking for evening shift work, which is our busiest time.

“Now there is an official process to follow when it comes to employing students for paid work on work permits, we are definitely open to taking them on.”

Elysia Suantah, human resources manager at PH Real Estate, said the company will seek to expand its employee base.

“Having [the addition] of younger employees in each department would alleviate senior members' workload, while they can mentor and guide the younger staff,” she said.

Papa John's Pizza in Dubai will take on students for part-time work. Ruel Pableo for The National

“With three student employees spread across our core business sectors, we would also implement a training plan that will allow this young talent to train in different departments.

“A reasonable wage bracket would be from Dh2,500 ($680) to Dh3,000 a month, with the flexibility of growth, underlining that longevity and loyalty will be rewarded.”

Level playing field

Speaking to The National earlier, Mohamed Rouchdi, partner at ICLO law firm, said the changes empowered young people to get familiar with the working world.

For those looking to get paid experience, he said they can now “freely work and have their own arrangements, with mutual consent from their employer”.

In the coming months, Hale Education Group, an education consultancy in Dubai, said it would “hire three to four part timers” as a result of the amended law.

“Undergraduate university applicants from the UAE have typically not had access to this opportunity, but doing so will put them on a level playing field with their peers abroad,” said Peter Davos, founder of the group.

“Internships are important, but paid work experience shows admissions officers you have the ability to manage real world responsibilities, a greater understanding of personal responsibility and the overall value of money.

“Different roles require different needs and some, such as social media management, are more suited for part-timers.”

Jamal Al Mahamid, chief executive of Palmira Software House, a business consultancy in Dubai, said he will also expand the company’s young workforce.

“We currently have four vacancies for keen young minds, and we welcome talent looking to learn and progress their careers,” he said.

Mr Al Mahamid quoted a statement by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, that “the youth are our country's most cherished asset".

“In terms of salary, it depends, but [our roles will likely vary] from Dh2,000 to Dh8,000 per month.”

For Ahaan Shetty, 16, a pupil from Gems Modern Academy in Dubai, the move is a game changer.

“The new policy is a paradigm shift in the experience and opportunities that students and young adults in the UAE can receive,” he said.

“As a pupil, the implementation of such a law means that I have the chance to prepare myself for the outside world.

“Real job experience is something that can help young people build on skills such as independence, leadership, time management and cooperation.

“It also allows us to explore different fields of interest, understand our passions and gain insight to what different jobs and sectors are like.”

Updated: February 06, 2022, 4:04 AM