Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE

Expats who are working in the UAE are protected by the UAE Labour Law. This specific law states all the rights and privileges of employees and employers in the country. If you are already working and residing here, you know that one of the most important things in your employment is your employment contract, which contains everything that relates you with the company you are working for.

Within your employment contract is the probation period. This is often overlooked by employees in the UAE and we think it’s the best time to discuss this matter.

UAE LABOUR: What is the probation period all about?

Every company gives probation period to employees, even those that are outside of the emirate. A probation period is a time for employers to assess the performance of employees initially, usually within a three-month time span. This is the period for employees to show their employers that they are qualified to be regular employees of the company.

During the probation period, there are a series of evaluations and screening. If the employee passes the screening, the company offers another contract to continue the employment. What’s next to the probation period is regular employment.

What happens if you are under probation period?

Your performance is subject to review by the company.

Don’t freak out if you hear that the company is doing an evaluation of your performance. This is a big part of the probation period. During this time, your supervisors and managers have the right to give their feedback regarding how you work. At the end of your probation period, the assessment will be used to decide whether you deserve to be in the company for a longer period or not.

Probation period of up to six months.

Article No. 37 of the UAE Federal Labour Law states that “a worker may be engaged on probation for a period not exceeding six months, during which, his services may be terminated by the employer without notice or severance pay: provided that a worker shall not be engaged on probation more than during service to any one employer. Where a worker successfully completes his period of probation and remains in his job, the said period shall be reckoned towards his period of service.”

As what the article is saying, you are only allowed to undergo up to 6 months of probation period. If you will be employed past this period, your employer is responsible to compensate you. However, that is deemed illegal if no formal announcement is made.

You can resign at any time.

If you are under the probation period, you can resign at any time. However, you should still assess what’s written in your employment contract. Although it is your right to resign while on probation, there might be consequences such as paying bonds equivalent to your one-month salary and so on. Read your employment contract and make sure that you understand the clause regarding the probation period.

Your employer can terminate you within the probation period.

Like resignation, your employer has the right to terminate you if you are not performing according to what’s needed in your company. This is what Article 120 of the UAE Labor Law states. If an employee is not performing at par with the company’s metrics, the employer can terminate the worker after the probation period. If the contract is limited, you can be terminated before the period expires.

The law on termination within the probation period is only applicable if the employment is within the first six months. No separation pay, compensation, or other benefits will be given to the employee. Likewise, the employer has no right to ask the employee to pay for the visa expenses in case of termination. According to the law, reimbursement of visa fees is illegal.

You are not entitled to end-of-service benefits.

Gratuity pay is only given to employees who have served more than 1 year in a company. Thus, you will not be entitled to this benefit if you are under probation period. In case you got terminated within 6 months or less, you will receive end-of-service benefits. If you will be able to complete the probation period plus 1 year of service to the company, that’s the only time that your end-of-gratuity benefit will run.

You are not allowed to take leaves.

Usually, this is written in your employment contract. You will not be entitled to leaves like regular employees during your first six months. Your sick leave is not paid and you will not be able to file for vacation leaves. In case you really need to take a day off due to sickness, you can talk to your employer and discuss the matter. If you are under the probation period, this will most likely be taken as leave without pay.

The probation period can’t be extended.

It’s either your employer will make you a regular employee or he will terminate you at the end of the probation period. Extensions are not allowed as is it deemed illegal under the law. Six months is already enough for a company to assess its employees and by the end of it, the employer needs to make a decision.

How much salary should I expect during the probation period?

In most cases, you will receive a salary that’s equal to your agreed monthly compensation. The only difference between you and a regular employee is the set of rights that you can avail of.

If your employer offers a different salary grade during the probation period and your agreement includes increasing the pay once you become a regular employee, study your employment contract carefully before you accept the job. This case can happen since the compensation is declared by the employer.

Final Thoughts

The probation period is an essential phase in an expat’s life in the UAE. During this time, expats work beyond what they are capable of in order to qualify as regular employees. To avoid getting fired within this period, give your best shot and show your employer how well you can perform at work.

Disclaimer: UAELabour.org is an informational site only and should serve as a guide. For updated details and policies, always contact proper authorities for assistance. If you are facing challenges at your work, please contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) or previously known as UAE Ministry of Labour for guidance. You may also seek help from a lawyer regarding your case.

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