The holy month of Ramadan is expected to start by the end of
this week. During Ramadan, the normal working hours for all
employees who work in the private sector (excluding the Dubai
International Financial Centre, the "DIFC"), whether or
not they are Muslim or fasting, are to be reduced by two hours per
Reduced working hours under the UAE Labour Law
It was reported in the press last week that a Ministry of Labour
source stated that working hours during Ramadan will be "36
hours a week, instead of 48 hours per week in other
months". Whilst this is correct and in accordance with
the provisions of the UAE Labour Law (Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, as
amended), bear in mind that this statement is based upon a 6-day
In accordance with the UAE Labour Law, the maximum number of
normal working hours outside of Ramadan are eight hours per day, or
48 hours per week, assuming a 6-day week. This means that
employees working a 5-day week would normally work a total of 40
hours per week. During Ramadan, the maximum normal working
hours are reduced by 2 hours per day, which leads to a 36-hour week
for those who work six days per week, or alternatively, a 30-hour
week for those who work five days per week.
Any employee working in excess of the normal working hours (or
reduced normal working hours during Ramadan) is entitled to
overtime payments in accordance with the UAE Labour Law.
The overtime provisions (and other working time provisions) do
not apply to employees in a senior and/or managerial
position. However, the scope of employees falling within this
category is very limited – in accordance with a Ministry
of Labour Resolution, senior and/or managerial positions for these
purposes means the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Managing
Director, Departmental Heads, and Supervisory staff, provided
always that the employees listed here have the delegated authority
to act on behalf of the company.
Reduced working hours under the DIFC Employment Law
Finally, the working time provisions in the DIFC are slightly
During Ramadan, in accordance with the DIFC Employment Law (DIFC
Law No. 5 of 2004), an employee who is a fasting Muslim shall not
be required to work in excess of six hours per day
(although an employee can choose to do so). An employee who
is not a fasting Muslim has no entitlement to reduced hours during
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