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Global employment briefing: UAE, June 2018

  • UAE
  • Employment law


Recent changes to the status of part-time work in the UAE

This update provides a brief overview on the status of part-time work in the UAE and how this has changed following the introduction of Ministerial Resolution No.31 of 2018 (the “Resolution”).

Before the enactment of this Resolution, UAE employees could apply for a part-time job in addition to any other employment they held. However, prior to an employee accepting, or an employer offering, any part-time work, a part-time work permit had to be obtained. Part of the application for this permit necessitated the approval of the first employer, who was required to supply a non-objection certificate.

The most significant change introduced by this Resolution is that the consent of the first employer (‘primary’) is no longer required. This means the employee and part-time employer (‘secondary’) can proceed with the application for the part-time work permit without obtaining a non-objection certificate from the primary employer. However, as part of the application process, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will notify the primary employer. Although not a legal requirement, we recommend the employee also informs their primary employer. Furthermore the primary employer is unable to utilise a post-termination restriction or confidentiality as a reason to prevent the part-time employment unless the primary employer has a court order to this effect.

This new regime does not apply to all categories of employees. It is limited to skilled first and second-tier workers in the UAE with a minimum qualification requirement of a university degree or a diploma in any technical or scientific field. The Resolution requires that the employment contract with the primary employer must be more than 20 but less than 48 hours per week and that the employee must receive at least one day off per week. The primary employer shall sponsor the employee as usual and bear responsibility for their annual leave, end of service benefits and any other financial obligations in proportion to the number of actual working hours. The secondary employer shall only pay the employee’s salary under the part-time contract and bear the costs in relation to the application of the part-time work permit. In other words, the secondary employer is not legally required to provide any other benefits to the employee unless otherwise provided in the part-time employment contract, or, if such benefits were granted on a discretionary basis. It is important to note that the part-time employment contract cannot be converted into a permanent contract unless it is terminated. Finally, the UAE Labour Law will apply to the part-time employment contract other than to the extent the Resolution applies.

In conclusion, the passing of this Resolution will unquestionably promote the development and growth of the UAE labour market. It is anticipated that more applications for part-time work will be made following this Resolution.