Every worker and employer needs to know the laws regarding the working hours in their country. It impacts a company’s business decisions, including the regulations for employees. The labor laws regarding the operating hours in UAE are made to ensure fair working conditions and to prevent employers from exploiting the workers.

Why are working hours necessary for an employee?

Working hours are crucial for maintaining the work-life balance of employees. It ensures that employees spend enough time with their family and get enough social life. Also, it helps the employees to take enough rest, which could preserve their health in the long run.

The working hours law helps employers ensure their workers are adequately rested to be more productive.

The working hours in the UAE

This article discusses the crucial aspects of employee working hours in the United Arab Emirates.

Regular/normal working hours:

An adult employee should work a maximum of 8 hours a day which equals 48 hours a week. However, employees working in commercial establishments such as hotels, cafeterias, security services, and other such establishments may work for a maximum of 9 hours a day. The employers should abide by the regulations of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in the case of increasing the regular working hours, which is 8.

The regular working hours can be reduced in specific conditions with the guidance of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs. These particular conditions can include working conditions that are arduous and harmful to employees’ health. Also, it includes Ramadan month when the working hours can get reduced.

You should remember that the travel hours of an employee from and to work will not be counted as working hours.

Daily working hours:

Employers should regulate the daily working hours to ensure that none of their employees work for 5 consecutive hours without a break. These breaks include but are not limited to rest, meals, and prayer. However, these breaks shall not be calculated as working hours.

Some companies necessitate continuous operation, such as factories where successive shifts exist for technical and economic reasons. In such establishments, the break time allocation for rest, meals, and prayer should abide by the regulations of the Minister.

Overtime working hours:

If any circumstances lead to the employee working more than the regular working hours, it is considered overtime. The employee should be paid the wages stipulated for the normal working hours and an extra of at least 25 percent of that wage.

Suppose the employee happens to work overtime between 9 PM and 4 AM. In that case, the employee should be paid the wages stipulated for the regular working hours and an extra of at least 50 percent of that wage.

Actual overtime hours shall not exceed two per day unless such duty is required to prevent a significant loss or a severe accident or to negate or lessen the latter’s impact.

Working on Friday

Friday should be the rest day for all except the daily paid workers. Suppose an employee has to work on Friday. In that case, they should be offered an alternative rest day in the week or paid the wages stipulated for regular working hours and an extra of at least 50 percent of that wage. However, no employee should work for 2 successive Fridays except the daily paid workers.

Exceptions of the Rule:

The rules of this Section do not apply to the following categories:

1. Persons holding senior executive supervisory or managerial positions if such positions confer on the incumbent’s employer-like rights over workers. A Minister of Labor and Social Affairs regulation will define the categories in question.

2. Seamen serving under exceptional conditions of service due to the nature of their work, except for port employees engaged in stevedoring and similar operations.

Maintain a Time Table:

The employer should display the timetable showing employees’ weekly days off, work hours, and break times at the main entrance and in the common places used by the employees. A copy of the same should be filed with the labor department.

Suppose the company doesn’t follow a statutory weekly day off. In that case, a timetable of weekly rest days for each employee department should be displayed at the main entrance and in common areas.