In mid-November, the UAE Cabinet approved a new Labour Law, Federal Law Number 33 of 2021 (the New Labour Law) which will come into force on 2 February 2022 and repeals Law Number 8 of 1980 (the Old Law), replacing it entirely. The New Labour Law consolidates many of the changes which have been introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MHRE) through various regulations over the past five years and also introduces significant new changes, thus amounting to a radical overhaul of labour relations in the UAE. It will apply across the UAE, in each of the seven emirates and its free zones (with the exception of the DIFC and ADGM).

The New Labour Law refers in several parts to Implementing Regulations to be issued by the MHRE, which will contain further explanatory provisions to the law and also set out further frameworks. It has not yet been announced when these Regulations will be available. However, this structure gives the MHRE much welcome flexibility to regulate employment matters in the years to come.

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