[UAE] Private sector employees should know working hours rules

An alert has been issued to employees in the private sector by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) urging them to be conscious of the UAE’s rules and regulations around working hours, Gulf News reports.

MoHRE is responsible for proposing federal laws that regulate labour and labour affairs and managing labour affairs, it pointed out that according to Article 65 of UAE Labour Law the usual working hours for the private sector are 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week.

“The working hours may be increased to nine hours a day for businesses, hotels and cafes after approval from MoHRE,” a ministry spokesperson said and explained that working above seven hours a day is prohibited “in arduous or unhealthy works and industries”.

“An overtime is considered if the nature of job demands working beyond normal working hours and it will entitle the employee for a pay equal to normal working hours' remuneration plus 25 per cent of that pay. It could increase to 50 per cent if overtime is done between 9 pm and 4 am.”

Breaktime allowance

MoHRE also regulates daily working hours. Under their rules employees should not work for more than five consecutive hours without intervals for meals, rest and prayer. The total rest period should not be less than one hour and such intervals shall not be included in the working hours, according to Article 66 of the UAE Labour Law

“As for the factories and workshops where work is carried out in successive shifts around the clock, or for works that require uninterrupted work for technical and economic reasons, the minister shall regulate the method whereby workers are granted the periods of rest, meals and prayer and such by virtue of a decision issued thereby,” MoHRE clarified.


If work circumstances require an employee to work overtime above ordinary working hours, the employee should be paid a wage equivalent to the ordinary hourly wage plus at least 25 per cent of their wages.

“Effective overtime working hours may not exceed two hours per day unless such work is necessary for the prevention of the occurrence of a colossal loss, a serious accident or the removal or mitigation of the consequences thereof,” said MoHRE.

One day off

The ordinary weekly rest day for all workers will be Friday, with the exception of daily workers. If circumstances demand that an employee works on this day, he/she will be entitled to a substitute rest day, or to the basic wage for ordinary working hours plus at least 50 per cent of their wages.

Annual leave

Workers will be entitled to an annual leave for every year of service for no less than the following periods:

  • Two days for each month should the period of service be of six months at least and a year at most
  • Thirty days for each year should the period of service of the worker exceed one year

Should the service of the worker be terminated, the worker shall be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the last year.

According to the law, an employer may determine the date of the commencement of the annual leave and if necessary may divide it into two or more periods.