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Global employment briefing: United Arab Emirates, May 2013

  • UAE
  • Employment law - HR E-Brief


The most  recent notable development in employment and labour law in the United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) is the amendment to the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) Employment Law which took effect on 23 December 2012.

The DIFC Employment Law (DIFC Law No 4 of 2005), as amended by DIFC Law No 3 of 2012, applies exclusively to employees working for employers established in the DIFC and such employees are based within, or ordinarily work within or from, the DIFC.

Some of the key changes in the 2012 amendment, some in favour of the employee, include the following:

  • the right to a written contract in place of a written statement of particulars;
  • the right to penalties paid by the employer for failure to pay owed wages upon termination within fourteen days;
  • the right to paid holiday for a minimum of 20 working days per year;
  • the right to carry forward up to 20 working days untaken holiday into the next calendar year for a maximum period of 12 months;
  • up to 60 working days paid sick leave as opposed to 90 calendar days;
  • up to 65 working days paid maternity leave as opposed to three months; and
  • if the employee is a UAE or GCC national, such person shall be enrolled in a UAE pension scheme as opposed to being entitled to end-of-service gratuity.

If you would like further information in relation to the employment and labour law applicable in the DIFC, or in any other jurisdiction in the UAE, please contact:

Geraldine Ahern
Principal Associate

+971 (0) 2 494 36 32