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Pay Attention to these SIX differences in UAE Labor Law updated in 2024

Pay Attention to these SIX differences in UAE Labor Law updated in 2024

The 2024 updates to the UAE labor law mark a significant milestone in the country’s ongoing efforts to modernize its labor market and enhance employee rights and protections. Among the key reforms introduced are measures such as Emiratization, the introduction of an unemployment insurance plan, provisions for fixed-term contracts, adjustments to work modes, notice periods for termination, and changes in labor dispute resolution. These reforms reflect the UAE government’s commitment to fostering a more transparent, fair, and resilient labor market that prioritizes the welfare of both employers and employees. In this overview, we’ll delve into each of these changes, highlighting their scope, impacts, and implications for HR practices and the broader labor landscape in the UAE.

Emiratization Policy in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 updates to the UAE labor law emphasize Emiratization, a policy aimed at boosting the employment rate of UAE nationals within the private sector. Here’s a concise overview and impact analysis of this policy:

Policy Overview:

Scope: Applicable to private sector companies registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), excluding entities within UAE free zones.

Employee Ratio Requirement: Private sector firms must ensure at least 2% of their workforce comprises UAE nationals, with an annual increase of 2% until reaching 10% by 2028.

Implementation and Regulation: MOHRE oversees policy implementation, ensuring compliance and imposing penalties on violators.

Long-Term Goals: Promote UAE national employment, reducing reliance on foreign labor and enhancing citizens’ employment rates.

HR Impact:

Recruitment Strategies: HR professionals must adapt recruitment practices to meet national employment ratio requirements, developing strategies to attract and retain UAE national employees.

Compliance Management: Ensuring compliance with Emiratization policies becomes a priority, with HR departments bearing the responsibility of adherence and facing legal consequences for non-compliance.

Purpose: Emiratization underscores the UAE government’s commitment to enhancing citizen employment in the private sector, signaling significant implications for HR strategies and national workforce development.

Introduction of Unemployment Insurance Plan in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 updates to the UAE labor law introduce an unemployment insurance plan, aimed at bolstering economic security for private sector employees. Here’s a succinct breakdown and impact assessment of this plan:

Plan Overview:

Implementation Time: Effective from June 30, 2024, covering private sector employees to provide financial assistance during unemployment.

Insurance Costs: Monthly premiums vary based on income, with employees earning below 16,000 dirhams paying 5 dirhams and those above paying 10 dirhams.

Scope: Excludes employees within free zones presently but subject to potential future inclusion.

Purpose: Offers financial support and protection to unemployed workers, easing financial burdens during job searches.

HR Impact:

Enrollment Management: HR departments must ensure eligible employees are enrolled in the unemployment insurance plan, managing premiums accurately within compensation systems.

Policy Communication: Clear communication and explanation of the policy become imperative to ensure employee comprehension and adherence to rights and obligations.

Purpose: The introduction of the unemployment insurance plan underscores the UAE government’s commitment to fortifying the labor market’s resilience and safeguarding employee rights, with notable implications for HR and financial management strategies of companies.

Fixed-Term Contracts in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 UAE labor law introduces a significant change by replacing indefinite contracts with fixed-term contracts, reshaping the dynamics of employer-employee relationships. Here’s a concise overview and impact analysis of fixed-term contracts:

Change Overview:

Abolishment of Indefinite Contracts: The new provision mandates that all employment contracts be fixed-term, ensuring a clear end date to the employer-employee relationship.

Contract Duration: Contracts typically align with the validity period of expatriate employees’ residence visas, spanning 2 to 3 years, necessitating clear specification of start and end dates.

Renewal Process: Both parties must agree to renew the contract;   otherwise, non-renewal notice is required from the employee.

Contract Contents: Contracts must include essential details such as start and end dates, job specifics, location, compensation, and duration.

HR Impact:

Contract Management: HR professionals must adapt procedures for contract preparation, renewal, and termination to comply with the new law, ensuring accurate communication with employees.

Legal Compliance: Strict adherence to legal requirements is crucial to prevent legal disputes, necessitating thorough compliance with contract regulations.


The UAE labor law aims to enhance transparency and predictability in employment relationships, aligning expatriate contracts with visa validity.   HR professionals are urged to proactively adjust to the new framework.


Work Mode Adjustments in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 UAE labor law introduces adjustments to work modes, fostering flexibility and adaptability in diverse work scenarios. Here’s a concise summary and impact assessment of these updates:

Adjustment Overview:

Work Modes Categorization: Various work modes are specified, including full-time, part-time, temporary, and flexible work, enabling employers and employees to select the most suitable mode.

Full-Time Work: Traditional mode with fixed hours and full benefits.

Part-Time Work: Offers flexibility with limited hours or days, suitable for balancing work and personal life.

Temporary Work: Task-specific employment terminating upon completion, ideal for seasonal or project-based tasks.

Flexible Work: Allows adjustments in hours and days based on workload and operational needs, enhancing adaptability.

HR Impact:

Recruitment and Contract Management: HR strategies must align with different work modes, ensuring clear communication of mode specifics to employees.

Employee Benefits: Adjustment of benefit strategies to accommodate diverse work arrangements, promoting work-life balance.


These adjustments cater to the demand for diversity and flexibility in the labor market, necessitating closer attention to individual needs and work-life balance by employers and HR professionals.


Notice Periods for Termination in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 UAE labor law introduces significant changes regarding notice periods for termination, directly affecting the termination process for both employers and employees. Here’s a condensed overview and impact analysis of these provisions:

Notice Period Overview:

Mandated Notice Period: Employers and employees must adhere to the notice period specified in the employment contract before terminating the contract, ensuring written notice is provided.

Minimum and Maximum Periods: The minimum notice period for termination is set at 30 days, with a maximum limit of 90 days. Employers must provide at least 30 days’ notice, regardless of the termination reason.

Non-Compliance Consequences: Failure to comply with the notice period results in compensation equivalent to the notice period or its remaining portion, balancing employee needs with employer interests.

HR Impact:

Contract Management: HR departments must ensure employment contracts specify the termination notice period and strictly adhere to these provisions during termination processes.

Supportive Termination Process: HR should offer guidance and support during terminations, ensuring compliance with legal requirements and mitigating negative impacts on both employees and the organization.

Management Importance: Transparent and fair termination processes are crucial for maintaining positive work environments, emphasizing HR’s role in ensuring legal compliance and employee rights protection.

Purpose: These notice period provisions reflect the UAE government’s commitment to balancing employer and employee rights, enhancing transparency, and fairness in termination procedures.

Changes in Labor Dispute Resolution in UAE Labor Law

The 2024 updates to the UAE labor law introduce changes in labor dispute resolution, aiming to modernize and enhance efficiency and fairness in resolving labor disputes. Here’s a brief overview and impact analysis:

Decision-Making Authority Enhancement:

MOHRE Empowerment: The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) gains greater authority, particularly in handling small-value labor disputes, making final decisions for claims not exceeding 50,000 dirhams.

Quick Enforcement: MOHRE decisions carry the force of execution, with dissatisfied parties retaining the right to appeal to relevant courts within 15 working days, ensuring accountability and transparency.

Dispute Resolution Process:

Court Referral: Disputes beyond MOHRE’s jurisdiction or unresolved within designated timeframes may be referred to relevant courts, with detailed memoranda facilitating comprehensive case understanding.

Wage Payment Suspension: In cases of wage payment suspension due to disputes, MOHRE can instruct employers to continue paying wages for up to two months, ensuring workers’ financial stability.

HR Impact:

Regulation Understanding: HR departments must grasp these new regulations and collaborate closely with MOHRE during labor disputes, ensuring adherence to procedures and employee awareness of rights and resources.

Purpose: These updates aim to streamline dispute resolution processes, offering quick and effective resolutions while safeguarding employee rights and employer interests, reflecting the UAE’s commitment to modernizing labor laws.

Near Future: UAE Job Market 2024-25

There are approximately 418,500 job openings in the UAE every year.

Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, and Fujairah are the top five cities with the most job opportunities.

UAE GDP growth by 2% in 2023.

The UAE unemployment rate is expected to be 10% in 2024.

The UAE employment rate is expected to be 42% in 2024.

In conclusion, the 2024 updates to the UAE labor law represent a significant step forward in the country’s journey towards enhancing labor market dynamics and protecting employee rights. From initiatives like Emiratization aimed at boosting the employment of UAE nationals in the private sector to the introduction of an unemployment insurance plan providing economic security during periods of job loss, these reforms underscore the government’s proactive approach to addressing evolving challenges and ensuring a fair and equitable working environment for all. As HR professionals and businesses operating in the UAE navigate these changes, it’s crucial to adapt strategies and practices to align with the new legal framework while prioritizing the well-being and rights of employees. Through collaboration and compliance, stakeholders can contribute to building a stronger, more resilient labor market that serves the interests of both employers and workers alike.

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