This short summary will highlight the most important changes in the New UAE Labor Law (Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021) which came into effect on 2nd February 2022. 


  • 3 Year Limited Contract:
    • is renewable for the same period or less upon agreement of both parties. 
    • Unlimited contracts under the existing labour law still apply but must be converted from unlimited to limited contracts within one year of enforcement of the New Labour Law.
  • Different Work Categories:
    • full-time, part-time, temporary and flexible work. 
    • Introduction of the condensed work week as well (10 hours a day for 4 days) 
  • Non-Compete: 
    • Non-compete protections afforded to an employer have been strengthened. 
    • Previously it was based on case law and the Court of Cassation, now it's a provision in the law.
    • The employment contract must= stipulate its duration, geographical scope and type of work it applies to
  • Bullying & Sexual Harassment: 
    • The new law prohibits bullying, sexual harassment or any physical, verbal or psychological violence against workers by their superiors or colleagues.
    • Prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, colour, sex, nationality or disability.
  • Notice Periods:
    • Now been capped at 3 months whilst the minimum notice period remains at 30 days. 
  • Termination by Employee During Probationary Period:
    • Employee may resign during the probationary period with at least 1 months' written notice where the employee is moving to a new employer in the UAE. The new employer will be required to compensate the previous employer for all recruitment costs of said employee. 
    • Where the employee wishes to leave the UAE during the probationary period, the employee must provide at least 14 days' written notice. 
    • If the employee returns to the UAE and obtains a work permit within 3 months of their departure, The new employer will be required to compensate the previous employer for all recruitment costs of said employee. 
  • Termination by Employer During Probationary Period 
    • Employer may terminate by providing 14 days' written notice to the employee.

If either party terminates the employment contract without complying with the provisions of the New Law, the terminating party must pay the other party compensation equal to the employee's basic salary plus allowances due under the relevant notice period or the remainder thereof. An employee who leaves the UAE without complying with the provisions relating to terminating a contract during the probation period will NOT be granted a work permit to work in the UAE for a period of one year from the date they depart the country.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.