The regulations supplement the new UAE Labour Law that took effect on 2 February and address a wide-range of topics, from the elements that must be addressed within employment contracts, to leave and pay entitlements, the use of non-compete clauses and working hours during Ramadan.
Dubai-based employment law expert Luke Tapp of Pinsent Masons said: “These implementing regulations have been published in the same week in which the new UAE Labour Law, Law No 33 of 2021, came into force. It is another significant step forward for labour and HR regulations in the UAE and it shows how much of priority the UAE government and authorities are placing on the development of the UAE employment laws.”
Ruth Stephen, also of Pinsent Masons in Dubai, said: “The implementing regulations provide employers and employees alike with the additional clarity needed in the newly enforced UAE Labour Law which will further support the development and success of businesses in the UAE. The regulations give employers the answers needed so that they can now take steps forward to update their employment contracts and internal policies.”
The regulations confirm that companies with 50 employees or more are required to put in place internal policies which govern holidays, bonuses, appraisals and salary reviews, working hours, health and safety, grievance and disciplinary procedures, and that those policies must be in line with the overarching Labour Law or implementing regulations.
Under the new regulations, employers and employees will, for the first time in the UAE, be able to add new/bespoke clauses in the standard form template MoHRE contracts, which was not permissible in the past. Standard elements that must be included within an employment contract are listed, and include working hours and rest days, agreed remuneration, benefits and allowances, annual leave entitlement and notice period and termination procedures of contract.
The regulations place geographic, time and type of work limits on the use of non-compete clauses, which employers often use to prevent important staff moving seamlessly to work for rival companies.
Exemptions from the rights to overtime and overtime pay are also detailed, as are exceptions to the rights to paid sick leave. Rights of workers to carry forward leave or receive payment in lieu of unused leave are also outlined in the regulations.
The regulations also address flexible working arrangements, work permits, end or service gratuities, health and safety and workplace injuries.