Labour Rights UAE: What Should You Know

Regardless of clear guidelines in terms of Labour rights in the UAE, quite often, residents are coerced to accept less than they are owed when they are terminated or resign themselves. Many are entirely unaware of the UAE labour law termination benefits the law provides them with.

There are UAE laws that protect both employer and employee interests, including conditions of notice periods to arbitrary dismissals. All of them differ from each other based on the period of employment as well as the type of contract (limited or unlimited).

Labour Rights

End of Contract

Regarding Resignation

Your employer’s acceptance or rejection of your resignation is not legally essential. No matter how you have resigned. If you sent in your resignation via email, it is considered acceptable from the date of submission. That’s why, the contractual notice period, which can last for three months, usually starts from this date.

However, if you are working on a limited contract, resigning is a violation of your contract. You can quit only with your employer’s consent or after completion of the contract period.


Your termination can be caused by many things. Therefore, your dues might differ based on the fact of whether you were let go due to cost-cutting or as a result of arbitrary dismissal (wrongful termination).

In wrongful termination, the employers are liable to pay the employee with gratuity and other funds as compensation. However, there is no compensation in redundancy other than gratuity pay and/or notice period compensation.

Responsibilities & Rights

Notice Period

When you resign, you are required to serve the notice period. This is normally between 1-2 months, based on your contract. As per law, it cannot exceed more than three months. The employer cannot force you to work longer than that.

And if you are on a limited contract, there is a particular notice period. You cannot resign during the contract period, as it violates the terms. In case of urgent resignation, you can talk with your employer.

Your notice period begins from the day of termination or resignation. When terminated, the employer might ask you to work during the notice period or pay you the dues for the duration.

Air Fare

Your employer is not obligated to pay your airfare to your home country unless the labour contract states that, as per Article 131. If specified in the contract, the firm has to pay all fares. If the employee’s fault got him terminated, the employer is not legally liable to pay for airfare, if the employee can afford. No matter if it is mentioned in the contract. The law talks about the travelling ticket’s cost of the employee. Other costs like shipping or family repatriation are legally payable as well if it was agreed upon at the time of contract.

Visa Costs

As an employee, you are never responsible for reimbursing your employer for visa costs. Both sponsorship and visa costs are the sole responsibility of the employer, no matter how or why you were terminated.

It is illegal for companies to deduct instalments for visa costs.

Employee Experience Certificate

An employee should get an end-of-service certificate with all details, such as joining date, job description, and performance during the period of employment. Some also have the latest pay/wage if requested. This is Article 125 of the UAE Labour Rights & Law.

The employee could ask for this when his/her contract ends. The employer is liable to furnish this along with any certificates belonging to the employee.

Gratuity Pay

This depends on how long you have been employed for along with your contract type – limited or unlimited.

Passports and Visa Cancelation

The employer is responsible for charges of visa cancellation and the processes. After the cancellation has been completed, you must get your passport promptly. Also, some employers still force the employees to give up their passports as guarantee or safekeeping. This practice is common, but illegal according to the UAE Labour Law. Only a federal authority or competent court can keep your passport.

Some companies agree to give a passport only when the departure time is close. Again, this is illegal. Your employer is not allowed to keep your passport unless a cancellation or renewal is in progress.

For further information regarding UAE labor rights & law and other matters, contact Davidson & co legal consultants.

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