Be Prepared: The New UAE Labor Law – A Milestone Development for the UAE

    View Author November 2021

    The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has announced the introduction of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 (the New Labor Law), that will regulate labor relations and employment practice in the private sector within the UAE. The New Labor Law is the most substantial change to the existing private sector Labor Law (UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980) (referred to here as the Current Labor Law) since its inception, and will replace the Current Labor Law in its entirety. The New Labor Law will come into effect on February 2, 2022.

    With the introduction of new flexible and temporary working models, an overhaul in the contractual engagement of employees and the prohibition of various forms of discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as protection for employees who make a complaint based on their treatment (i.e. in cases of victimization), the New Labor Law includes a number of measures that could be viewed as being “employee-friendly”. In light of this, we expect a material shift towards a much more competitive work environment for employers and employees in the UAE labor market post-pandemic and strongly recommend that UAE companies onshore and within the free zones (with the exception of the Dubai International Financial Centre and Abu Dhabi Global Market) should start preparing now.