New UAE Labor Law explained: What workers need to know about annual, sick, and maternity leave

Recently, the government has made several amendments to the UAE Labor Law. The purpose of this is to be at the forefront of legislative issues, and at the same time, to make the country more attractive to foreign talents around the world. For this reason, those interested in moving into this country should be aware of these matters, including the regulations for annual, sick, and maternity leaves.

In this article, you will find all the information you need about the new UAE Labor Law regarding leaves. In addition, here are the most important aspects that have come out of this new law. You will see what benefits are granted to workers, mothers, and pregnant women. Let us observe:

  1. Why are there so many changes regarding the UAE Labor Law?
  2. What aspects of the UAE Labor Law have changed?
  3. When did these aspects of the new UAE Labor Law come into effect?
  4. Benefits for mothers
  5. Benefits for pregnant women
  6. Benefits for workers
  7. Find a job that offers you all the benefits of the new UAE Labor Law

1. Why are they making so many changes regarding the UAE Labor Law?

The first thing you should know before understanding these changes is the definition of Labor Law. It refers to certain federal-type regulations that ensure the rights of both workers and employees. Now, the objective of this is that there is equality between the remuneration workers receive and what employers get in exchange. This is at the level of stability and protection of rights of all employees, whether they work in the construction or education sector. 

The UAE Labor Law has been reconstructed and given a new start. Many of these changes come as a result of the effects of the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, it was clarified that one of its main goals of it is to maintain and attract more foreign professionals.

It is common knowledge that professionals will look for a country that gives them certain amenities to settle in. The UAE government intends to continue being one of these nations, which is always good news.

Another reason for the creation of this new law is that workers get a better balance between work and their personal life. This translates into certain benefits for them to improve their overall quality of life. The importance of this aspect is critical. In this sense, the UAE looks to compete with the most developed countries in terms of labor rights.

In summary, the UAE is indeed a very attractive destination for professionals from all over the world. This is because of all the job opportunities it offers. But, with these new policies, it will become much more appealing. Additionally, foreigners who already live in the country may now feel much more comfortable and secure.

2. What aspects of the UAE Labor Law have changed?

When new Labor Laws are implemented, there are many changes that you -as a worker- should be aware of. These are some of them:

2.1 UAE Labor Law and the new standards for the benefit of employees

The new UAE Labor Law aims to provide a great personal benefit to all workers. In addition, it seeks to strike a balance between the work and personal life of employees. This new law aims to provide welfare for employees, making the country attractive internationally.

2.2 Companies can set up more flexible working arrangements

Thanks to this new law, the government aims to enable companies to offer more flexible working arrangements to their employees. In this way, employees will have more benefits when entering into a contract with the company. They can also agree to more balanced or partial working hours.

2.3 A new maternity leave policy with the new UAE Labor Law

With this new law, women will have the right to maternity leave which will have a new duration of 45 days. They will receive 100% of their salary and an additional 15 days with 50% pay without the need for qualified service. This will also be available to mothers who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth after six months of pregnancy.

Women will have an additional 45 days unpaid if they suffer from an illness related to childbirth. Also, in the unfortunate event that the newborn suffers from a disability, they will have 30 additional paid and 30 unpaid days.

2.4 Holidays undergo some changes

As in the previous law, the basic annual leave entitlements continue the same. Now employees do not have the right to carry over leave to the following year. Thus, employees will not be able to automatically accumulate leaves that they choose not to take during the year.

2.5 Study leave

If the employee has been working for more than two years, they have the right to take 10 days of study leave. This will be accepted if the employee is studying at a UAE institution approved by the government.

2.6 Passing of a family member

If a member of the employee’s family passes away, the employee is eligible for compassionate leave. In the case of the employee’s spouse, the leave shall be for at least 5 days. In the case of children, parents, grandparents, or siblings, the leave is valid for 3 days.

2. When did these aspects of the new UAE Labor Law come into effect?

The UAE government referred to the important changes introduced with this new law. The new family leaves rights as well as anti-discrimination laws. This new Labor Law will come into force after February 2022.

You should also know about Law No. 33 from 2021, which talks about the regulations of labor relations in the private sector. This law came into force on February 2nd, 2022, aiming to improve labor rights. It also aims to increase the competitiveness of the UAE to attract great talent worldwide. Are you an ex-pat in the UAE? Check out our guide to finding jobs quickly and easily.

In addition, you can join us on The Talent Point for more job searching tips.

3. Benefits for mothers

Generally, countries offer different types of benefits to mothers, especially those who became mothers recently. With this new law, the government aims to provide mothers with more security, motivation and support

When mothers face an unfortunate situation such as a miscarriage, for example, they will be granted a leave of absence to recover from the event. Likewise, if they suffer a stillbirth after 6 months of pregnancy, they can also opt for this leave.

On the other hand, there is another important aspect worth mentioning. If a woman’s child is born with a disability, she is also eligible for leave. In this case, they are granted the equivalent of 30 paid days. In addition, if they need more time after completing this period, they have the right to an additional 30 days without pay.

Finally, another important aspect to take into account is related to what you do during the time you have active leave. If you start working for another company, there will be consequences. In this case, the employer can claim the money for the days of paid absence.

4. Benefits for pregnant women

As with mothers, those pregnant get benefits as well. In different circumstances, they get paid leave or in other cases, they get a few days of unpaid leave. This makes the UAE a more attractive destination for women than before.

In several countries, many women still cannot enjoy the right to a stable job, as employers are not obligated to recognize or accept a pregnancy leave. For this reason, they are often left unemployed or without a stable source of income during these times of vulnerability. Taking away this concern will cause a great impact on all women who choose the UAE as a destination to live and work.

When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, she can get a leave of absence for 45 days while receiving her full salary. In addition, they can get an additional 15 days, with the condition of only having access to half of their salary.

Additionally, regarding unexpected situations during pregnancy or pregnancy-related illnesses, women will also receive a leave of absence. In this situation, they can receive an extra 45 days.

5. Benefits for workers

As the purpose of this new Labor Law is that there is a balance between the employee’s personal life and work, all employees in general, whether they work in healthcare or sales, will receive certain benefits as well. Here are the most relevant ones you should be aware of:

5.1 Holidays

Employees must get a certain number of days per-year for holidays. How many days they get, and when they can get them varies by company. In this area, it was established that the entitlements remain the same. Firstly, they will receive one paid day a week, which they can choose to accumulate. However, keep in mind that this may also vary depending on the company they work for.

5.2 Rolling holidays

In many cases, employees may decide to continue working and postpone their holidays. In the past, these holidays were automatically passed on to the next year instead of offering employees the chance to accumulate them. Now, this situation is different.

5.3 Holiday pay 

Another very common case is that employees decide not to take their holidays. Instead, they agree to receive an additional payment for the days they are working. For this to be possible, they must make an agreement with the employer. Moreover, this holiday pay has to be made based on the wage rate.

5.4 Studies

Many employees working for companies across the UAE are simultaneously students. For such cases, the new UAE Labor Law presents a solution to support these individuals. If you are studying and have been working in the same company for more than two years, you have the right to 10 days of leave. However, you must keep in mind that for this to be valid you, must be studying in an institution approved by the UAE government.

5.5 Bereavement days

Tragedies like the loss of a loved one are also contemplated in the new Labor Law. The government of the UAE looks to support these individuals by giving them the right to a leave of absence. If someone’s partner just passed away, they will receive a 5-day leave. On the other hand, when it comes to the loss of a child, parent, grandparent, or other relative, the employee will have 3 days of leave.

6. Find a job that offers you all the benefits of the new UAE Labor Law

These were all the changes offered by the new Labor Law in the UAE for the benefit of all the employees nationwide. In this way, the UAE seeks to position itself as one of the world’s destinations that attracts the most skilled foreign professionals.

If you wish to get a job in the UAE, you can begin applying for job offers from your home country. In fact, this can help you speed up your visa processing! As you can see, working in the Emirates is becoming easier than ever before.

Our site, The Talent Point, is a professional platform aiming to connect candidates and recruiters across the Middle East.

In addition, with our support, you can get all the advice and information you need regarding UAE jobs, interviews, and Labor Laws instantly. Do you not know where to begin? That will never be a problem with the help of our dedicated team. If you would like to become a part of this community, you should register now and get started.

Would you like to learn more about The Talent Point and the UAE Labor Law? Feel free to email us all your questions at contact@thetalentpoint.com. Our experts will send you an answer as soon as possible. In addition, are you looking for digital marketing jobs? You can always check the latest offers on thetalentpoint.com. Call us at +971 43 316 688 for further information. Contact us!

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