Contracts in the U.A.E.

Overview by

The Active Population in Figures

Main Indicators 20062007
Labor Force 2 870 9873 096 646
Labor Force (Annual Growth, %) 8.307.80
Rate of Activity (%) 67.869.0
Unemployment Rate (%) 0.00.0

Source: Report of Central Bank of Emirates

Note: Around 80% of the population of Emirates are the residents. Consequently, around 98% of the private sector employees are not nationals of Emirates. The government has tried to rectify this factor of instability by launching an Emiratisation policy. So quotas have been placed particularly in the bank (4% of the employees should be nationals), trading (5%) and for companies employing 50 or more persons (2%). Moreover, the secretaries and public relation agents should be from Emirates. Finally in 2007, a plan was launched to srengthen these measures, attract the companies to employ more nationals and take steps against those who contravene these obligations.

Employed Persons, by Occupation (% of Total Labor Force) 2007
Agriculture, fishing and forest activities 7.2%
Mines 1.3%
Oil and gas activities 1.1%
Quarries 0.2%
Workers of industry 12.6%
Employees of water, gas, and electricity companies 1.1%
Construction and buildings 20.1%
Distribution and maintenance 18.8%
Hotel and restaurant trade 4.2%
Real estate and services to companies 2.7%
Transport, storage and communication 6.2%
Public and private services 4.3%
Financial sector employees 1.2%
Civil servants 10.7%
Home employed 8.3%

Source: Report of Central Bank of the UAE

For Further Statistics
Dubai Statistics Center
For Further Information About the Labor Market
The National Human Resource Development & Employment Authority

Management of Human Resources



Method of Recruitment
Recruitment is mostly done on the internet since the active population mainly consists of expatriates. Then, it is normal to go ahead with an interview.
Recruitment Agencies
There is a governmental agency for hiring nationals The National Human Resource Development & Employment Authority.
Recruitment Websites
Portal of job offers on internet
Offers on Interet
Jof offers in all Emirates
Search engine for jobs in the Emirates

The Contract

Type of Contract
The work contract is framed by the law and if desired by individual negotiation.
The formalism of the labour contract is extremely rigid. The prcedures for hiring and dismissals are easy.The contract duration should not exceed 4 years. It is renewable by mutual consent.
Breach of Contracts
  • Retirement
The legal retirement age is 60 years. It is however possible for the expatriates to work till 65 years. In this case here, they can obtain an agreement of Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Labour. Then they should renew their work permits every year. Those who want to work beyond 65 years should obtain an authorisation of the Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and his assistant. In order to do so, they should belong to a list of 11 professions such as engineers or doctors. There are no retirement pensions for the expatriates. They only have the agreement for allowances at the end of service. For the locals of UAE, the retirement pension is calculated at 60% of their salary for those who have 15 years and more of contributions.
  • Dismissals
For the undetermined contracts no allowance will be given if the working period is less than one year. Calculated on the net salary, the allowance is for 21 days for the first five years and 30 days beyond five years. For determined contracts, if the dismissal has taken place reasons other than legitimate motives, real and serious causes, it is obligatory to pay an allowance corresponding to the lower sum between the remaining salary to be paid till the end of the contract and three months allowance.
Penalties can be expected for improper breach of the contract. These penalties envisage damages for an amount which will not exceed the amount due for the remaining period of the contract.
  • Other Possible Methods
- resignation
- disciplinary action
Labor Laws
Consult the law of 1980 of the labour code (in English).

Dispute Settlement


Conciliation Process

Cases of Dispute
The figures of the disputes related to the application of the labour law are highly confidential and as a result it is difficult to give an estimate. It must however be known that courts are very favourable to the locals. Moreover, a number of foreign employees do not dare start proceedings against their employers as these are their sponsors and they are their guarantor to remain in the country. Attacking his sponsor puts him at the risk of losing his title for residence.
  • Legal Framework
It is the Federal Law no.8 of 1980 amended in 1981, 1985 and 1986 which regulates the relations between employers/employees. There are some special laws applicable to certain free zones like Jebel Ali.
  • Procedure
If a dispute arises, a document should be filed with the concerned Emirates Department (in which the employee is registered). The complaint should be submitted to the Claims Department of the ministry with a summary of the facts, calculation of the sums due from the employer and a copy of the work/labour contract. The registration costs for filling a document at the Ministry is 100 AED. The Labour Ministry makes the recommendations within two weeks from the preparation of the document. If the parties cannot reach an agreement by following the recommendations of the Ministry, the dispute is submitted to a court.

Judicial Structures

  • Legal Framework
The Law 1980 and its amendments.
  • Competent Legal Body
The federal or local courts are competent for disputed related to labour rights.

Social Partners

Social Dialogue and Involvement of Social Partners
Employees' Unions are banned in the UAE.
Ministry of Labour
Regulation Bodies
Ministry of Labour

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