Working Hours, Leaves, and Vacations in UAE

Did you know that working in the United Arab Emirates comes with certain rules and regulations? Whether you are an expat working as a professional there or a domestic worker, you must be aware of the labor laws that govern your rights and privileges there. This is to equip you with enough basic knowledge so that you won’t get lost in the process. For first-timers who are planning to go to UAE to work and look for other career opportunities, this guide will help you gain the right amount of information you need.

In UAE, there is a certain body or board that is responsible for ensuring that all labour laws are carried out properly across the borders of the country. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) is the body we are talking about. MoHRE is like the Ministry of Labour in other countries.

For laborers in this country, you have the right to reach out to the ministry for your labor concerns. Also, take note that since January 2016, there are certain provisions in the labor law that have been changed. In the later part of this article, we will talk about the working hours, leaves, and vacations you are entitled to as an expat.

Guide To Working Hours, Leaves, And Vacations in UAE

When you are working as an expat, it’s vital that you know about the correct working hours, leaves, and vacations. Usually, these are set out in the job contract but in case you haven’t gone through the document, this guide will help you become aware of it. Changes in the labor law don’t happen from time to time but the government ensures that should there be necessary updates, the law is amended. In this case, here is the list of things you need to take note and in case there are recent updates, you may also check the official website of MoHRE.

About Working Hours in UAE

Working hours are usually 8 hours. Wherever you go, this is the standard number of hours you need to render a full-time worker. The guidelines set out in the labor is not limited to this. Here are other things you need to be mindful of:

• The regular working hours in UAE for the private sector are 8 hours daily or 48 hours a week according to Article 65.
• This standard working hours can be increased to 9 hours depending on the type of business such as cafes and hotels. Businesses should seek the approval of MoHRE first before proceeding to the increase of working hours.
• If the job includes heavy physical labor, the working hours should not be more than 7 hours.
• The hours worked beyond the standard working hour is called overtime and this may be rendered if the job demands.
• The overtime pay of a worker is calculated as the basic pay x 25%, adding the basic pay for the standard hours worked. The overtime rate may be increased to 50% if the overtime if from 9:00 PM to 4:00 AM.
• When it’s the season of Ramadan, regular working hours are decreased by 2 hours every day.

About Official Leaves and Vacations in UAE

Besides the working hours, expats should be aware of the official leaves and vacations they are entitled to. Here are the types of leaves and vacations:


• In UAE, Friday is considered the official weekend for workers except for workers who are earning daily wages.
• If a worker works on a Friday, the pay should be the basic pay for standard hours plus at least a 50% increase of the basic amount.

domestic worker annual leave law as per mohre

Annual, Sick, and Special Leaves

You have to be fully aware of your entitlements such as the annual leave, sick leave, and special leaves. These are common to all employees in the UAE. Here are the details of your leaves:

• For employees who have worked for one employer for more than 6 months but less than a year, there are 2 annual leaves available each month.
• Once an employee completed 1 year of service for the same employer, he/she is entitled to 30 days of annual leave.
• The maximum sick leave an employee can avail is 90 days and subject to conditions stated in the labor law. The first 15 days are fully paid, the next 30 days are half paid, and the remaining 45 days are not paid.
• As for special leaves, the maximum is 30 days to perform Hajj. This is a privilege given to employees only once in the years of service and is not paid.

As an added tip, please make sure that you utilize your sick leaves especially if you are not feeling well. Health is very important and we should take time to utilize whatever sick days is available for that purpose.

Public Holidays

Apart from weekends and leaves, you can also take days off with the public holidays in the UAE. Just like the citizens of the country, people who are working here have the right to enjoy the holidays. There are holidays celebrated nationwide and there are those that are only announced by the authorities. It is essential that you wait for updates regarding the local holidays that are coming up. The common public holidays you are entitled to as a worker in UAE are the following:

• 1 day of Hijri New Year
• 1 day of Gregorian New Year
• 1 day of Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday
• 1 day of Isra and Miraj or Ascension Day
• 1 day of Martyr’s Day
• 1 day of National Day
• 2 days of Eid Al Fitr
• 3 days of Waqfa Day and Eid Al Adha

The information above can help you answer your inquiries regarding the working hours, official leaves, and vacations available when you are working in the UAE. We hope that you find this article useful in your daily life as an expat in this country. To help other expats and domestic workers, don’t forget to share this helpful guide. In case you have concerns regarding your relationship with your employer and the way these leaves are carried out in your job contract, do not hesitate to call MoHRE as this organization is capable of helping you resolve any labor issues.

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