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Pyypl Team
Apr 8
3 mins

Employment Rights in the UAE: A Guide for Expats

Navigating Employment Rights in UAE for Expats

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Renowned for its tax-free salaries and high standard of living, the UAE isn't just a place to work; it's a place to thrive. As one of the most sought-after destinations for professionals worldwide, the UAE offers a unique blend of opportunities and cultural experiences.

This blog is dedicated to all the expats in the UAE who are trying to navigate their employment rights while handling the cost of living in Dubai and beyond. Read on to explore how you can make the most of your time in this sun-drenched paradise while knowing your rights as an employee.

Understanding Your Employment Contract

Upon your arrival in the UAE, one of the first things you’ll encounter is the UAE’s employment contract system. It’s essential to understand the terms of your contract thoroughly. It typically outlines your job role, salary, benefits, working hours, and termination conditions. Be sure to read it carefully and seek clarification on any points that are unclear before signing.

Work Hours and Leave

Up until a few years ago, the standard workweek in the UAE used to be from Sunday to Thursday, with Friday and Saturday being the weekend. Now, most employers have switched to the global Monday – Friday workweek, with Saturday and Sunday being off. Full-time employees generally work eight hours a day, amounting to 40 hours per week. However, during the holy month of Ramadan, work hours are reduced by two hours per day, resulting in a 6-hour workday.

As for leave, employees are entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave (for women), and paternity leave (recently introduced). Understanding these aspects will help you plan your work-life balance effectively.

Wages and End of Service Benefits

The average salary in Dubai varies significantly across different sectors and job levels. Salaries are generally competitive and tax-free, which is a significant draw for many expats. Additionally, the UAE labor law entitles employees to 'end of service' benefits (gratuity), which is a lump sum payment when you leave your job, calculated based on your length of service and salary. Here's a breakdown of how it might be calculated:

  • For the first five years of service, you are entitled to 21 days' basic salary for each year of service.
  • Beyond five years, you get 30 days' basic salary for each additional year.
  • The total gratuity should not exceed two years' gross salary.

It’s important to note that the calculation is based on your basic salary, excluding any bonuses, allowances, or benefits. Also, if you resign before completing one year of service, you might not be eligible for this gratuity.  

Health Insurance and Safety

Health insurance is mandatory in the UAE, and your employer typically provides this. The healthcare system is of high quality, with a range of public and private facilities available. Additionally, the UAE is known for its safety and security, making it a comfortable place for expats and their families.

Cultural Sensitivity and Legal Norms

The UAE is a Muslim country, and it’s important for expats in the UAE to respect the local culture and traditions. This includes dressing modestly, observing local customs, and being mindful of laws that might differ from your home country.

Navigating Challenges

While the UAE offers a supportive environment for expats, challenges such as homesickness, cultural adjustments, and the hot climate can be daunting initially. It’s a good idea to connect with other expats and local communities to ease your transition.


Life as an expat in the UAE can be a rewarding and enriching experience. By understanding your employment rights and adapting to the cost of living in Dubai, you can make the most of your time in this dynamic country. Whether you’re here for a short stint or the long haul, the UAE is a land of opportunity, ready to welcome you with open arms.

Frequetly Asked Questions

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