What are the working hours as per UAE Labour Law?
Working in the UAE you must understand the number of hours you are expected to put in a at work. UAE Labour Law sets out clear guidelines for the maximum amount of work employee can legally be asked to do depending on their occupation, sector as well as the position they hold within an organisation.
As per the UAE Labour Law (Chapter 4, Section 1, Article 65 to 73) working hours must not exceed eight hours per day, or forty-eight hours per week, over a six-day week. It is also stated that working hours can be increased to nine hours per day for some business. During the Islamic month of Ramadan the working hours are reduced by two hours per day.
As an employee you may have the following queries on working hours:
- What are normal working hours required to work in private and public sector in Dubai?
- What are the position do not fall under the provisions of the working hours article in the UAE Labour Law?
- Is working 12 hours or more per day legal in UAE?
- Is lunch break included in working hours in UAE?
- What are the Ramadan Working Hours?
- What is midday break?
Working hours in UAE Labour Law:
Article 65: Number of working hours
Private sector employees are required to work eight hours a day or 48 hours a week, as per Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law.
The maximum normal working hours for adult employees shall be eight hours per day or forty eight hours per week. However, working hours for the employees of commercial establishments, hotels, restaurants, watchmen and similar operations may be increased to nine hours per day as determined by the Minister of Labour. Likewise, working hours per day in respect of hazardous work or work detrimental to health, may be decreased by decision of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. During the month of Ramadan, normal working hours shall be reduced by two hours.
Public sector employees, are required to work seven hours a day. (Government entities are not governed by the Labour Law)
The travel time spent by the employees from the place of residence to work site is not considered in working hours. This is as per Article 65 of the Labour Law, which states: “The commutation periods spent by the worker from the place of residence to the work site thereof shall not be calculated within the working hours.”
Ramadan working hours
As per article 65 of the UAE Labour Law, ordinary working hours are reduced by two hours during Ramadan.
Working hours followed in difficult work conditions
Working for more than 7 hours a day is prohibited in arduous or unhealthy works and industries.
Article 66: Consecutive working hours
Employees are allowed to take a break after a maximum of five consecutive hours of work. The break, which should not be less than an hour, can be used for rest, meals or prayer, according to Article 66 of the UAE Labour Law. However, it is important to note that the break is not part of the total number of working hours the employee is expected to work each day.
Daily working hours shall be regulated in a way that no employee shall work over five hours consecutively without break times for rest, food and prayer with a total not less than one hour, provided that such times shall not be counted in working hours. In factories and workshops where work is rotated on night and day shift basis, or in places of business where technical and economic reasons necessitate round the clock work, break times for rest, food and prayer shall be determined by the Minister.
Article 67: Overtime
If circumstances of work necessitate that an employee works more than the normal working hours, the extra time shall be considered overtime, for which the employee shall receive a remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal working hours plus an extra of at least 25 percent of such remuneration.
Article 68: Night Shift work hours
If circumstance of work necessitate that an employee works overtime between 9.00 p.m and 4.00 a.m., he shall be entitled to normal working hours pay plus an increase equal to at least 50% of such pay.
Article 69: Actual Overtime
Actual overtime may not exceed two hours per day unless work in necessary to prevent substantial loss or serious accident or to eliminate or alleviate its effects.
Article 70: Work on Friday
Friday is the normal weekly holiday for all employees except for those on daily wage basis.
If the employee is required to work on Friday he shall be granted one day off for rest or be paid the basic pay for normal working hours plus 50% increase at least of such pay.
Article 71: Working on consecutive Fridays
Except for labourers on daily wage an employee may not work on more than two Fridays successively.
Article 72: For who overtime is not applicable?
The provisions of this Section shall not apply to the following categories:
- Persons holding responsible senior posts in the management or supervision if holders of such titles are vested with the authorities or employers over employees, and such category is to be determined by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
- Ship crews and sea men who work under special service conditions due to the nature of their work, excluding Sea Port workers who are engaged in loading and off-loading and related works.
Article 73: Display of working hours
A Notice Board showing the weekly closing day, working hours and rest times for all categories of employees must be fixed at conspicuous place on the main gate used as entrance by employees and in the premises of work and a copy of the notice should be submitted to the competent Labour Department.
If the weekly closure system is not applied by the place of business, a notice showing the weekly rest day for each category of employees shall be fixed by the employer at the places referred to in the preceding paragraph.
Overtime Calculation: How to calculate overtime?
Overtime must not exceed two hours per day, unless the work is necessary to prevent substantial loss or serious accident or to reduce its effects. The normal overtime pay amounts shall be 125% of an employee’s normal remuneration for the period of overtime he worked.
In case, if an employee worked between 9.00 pm to 4.00 am, the overtime pay amount shall be 150% of his normal remuneration.
Friday is the normal weekly holiday for all employees except those who works on a daily wage basis. If an employee is required to work on a Friday, he will be granted one day leave in lieu, or paid 150% of his normal remuneration for the Friday worked. It is also stated that no employees can work more than two consecutive Fridays except labourers.
Note that the above said provision do not apply to certain employees working in a senior or managerial capacity, or ship crews and seamen who work under special service conditions due to the nature of their work.
What are the position considered to be entitled to overtime?
An overtime is considered if the nature of job demands working beyond normal working hours and it will entitle the employee for a pay equal to normal working hours’ remuneration, plus 25 per cent of that pay. It could increase to 50 per cent if overtime is done between 9 pm and 4 am. Again, it is important to note that these provisions exclude employees in high-ranking positions, as mentioned earlier.
According to MOHRE, a three-month midday break is provided to workers who work outdoors, during peak summer months. The break period typically starts in June and ends in September, preventing any sort of duty in open areas between 12.30pm and 3pm.
Flexible working hours for government employees
As per the the circular issued by the Dubai Government Human Resources Department to all government entities employees may start working between 6.30am-8.30am, provided that they complete the number of official working hours as determined by the government entity that they work for.
There is an exception made to the rule for the flexible working hours arrangement. This rule does not apply to certain employees including those whose job requires continuous communication with the public as well as those working in shifts – unless that specific entity decides to apply flexible hours without affecting its services.