What are the rules regarding hiring employees for my business in Dubai?

Hiring employees in Dubai is governed by a comprehensive regulatory framework designed to ensure fair practices and compliance with local labor laws. Understanding these rules is crucial for any business owner looking to expand business setup in Dubai. This guide will cover key aspects of the employment laws and regulations in Dubai, including the legal framework, types of employment contracts, work permits and visas, labor rights and protections, wages and benefits, working hours, termination and end-of-service gratuity, and considerations for hiring foreign workers.

Legal Framework

The primary legal framework governing employment in Dubai is the UAE Labour Law, which outlines the rights and obligations of employers and employees. Additionally, businesses operating in one of Dubai’s many free zones may be subject to specific regulations applicable within those zones, which can sometimes differ from the UAE Labour Law.

Types of Employment Contracts

In Dubai, there are mainly two types of employment contracts: limited (fixed-term) contracts and unlimited contracts. A limited contract has a specified duration and expiry date, while an unlimited contract is open-ended. The type of contract affects termination rights and end-of-service benefits.

Work Permits and Visas

To legally employ someone in Dubai, the employer must obtain a work permit (also known as a labor card) and a residency visa for the employee. The process typically involves several steps, including job offer acceptance, obtaining the work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), and applying for a residency visa through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) in Dubai. Microsoft Dynamics Crm consultant can help businesses streamline their sales, marketing, and customer service processes.

Labor Rights and Protections

The UAE Labour Law provides employees with various rights and protections, such as:

  • Right to a safe and healthy working environment.
  • Protection against discrimination and harassment.
  • Right to timely payment of wages.
  • Entitlement to leave, including annual leave, maternity leave, and sick leave.

Employers must ensure compliance with these provisions to avoid legal penalties.

Wages and Benefits

The UAE introduced a minimum wage for the first time in 2022, and it applies across all sectors and categories of employees. Employers are also required to provide additional benefits, such as health insurance, accommodation (or housing allowance), and transportation, depending on the job and the agreement between the employer and the employee.

Working Hours and Leave

The standard working hours in Dubai are 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. During the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced by 2 hours per day. Employees are entitled to at least one day of rest per week, typically Friday.

Employees are also entitled to various types of leave, including:

  • Annual leave: A minimum of 30 calendar days of annual leave after completing one year of service.
  • Sick leave: Up to 90 days of sick leave per year, with varying pay depending on the duration.
  • Maternity leave: 45 days of full pay for female employees who have completed one year of service.

Termination and End-of-Service Gratuity

The rules for terminating employment contracts depend on the type of contract. For limited contracts, early termination by the employer may require compensation to the employee. For unlimited contracts, either party may terminate the contract with notice, subject to certain conditions.

Upon termination of employment, employees are entitled to an end-of-service gratuity, calculated based on the duration of service and the last basic salary.

Hiring Foreign Workers

When hiring foreign workers, employers must navigate the visa and work permit process, which includes obtaining approval from MOHRE, conducting medical fitness tests, and securing a residency visa. Employers should also be mindful of the Emiratization policy, which aims to increase the employment of UAE nationals in the private sector.


Hiring employees in Dubai requires careful adherence to the UAE Labour Law and any applicable free zone regulations. Employers must ensure they comply with the requirements for work permits and visas, respect labor rights and protections, and provide the mandated wages and benefits. Understanding and following these rules can help businesses successfully navigate the hiring process and maintain a productive and compliant workforce in Dubai.

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