In the dynamic landscape of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where economic growth and development are constant, understanding the regulations governing working hours is vital for companies and HR managers. The UAE Labor Law outlines specific guidelines determining employees’ working hours, ensuring a fair and productive work environment. Let’s delve into the essential aspects of working hours in the UAE, enabling HR managers and companies to develop well-informed HR policies.

Working hours in UAE as per the labor law

  1. The standard workweek:

The standard workweek in the UAE consists of 48 hours, typically six days, with eight hours of work per day. This totals 48 work hours weekly, making the UAE compliant with the global standard workweek.

The regular working hours may vary depending on the economic sectors and employee categories. Employees in certain economic sectors and worker categories may work more or less than the standard working hours. 

However, the time the employee spends commuting to the workplace will not be considered as working hours. Further, remote employees, no matter where they live, should adhere to these standard working hours. 

  1. Overtime hours:

Sometimes, businesses may require employees to work beyond the standard work hours. In such instances, employees are entitled to overtime pay. As per UAE Labor Law, overtime pay should be calculated at a rate higher than the standard hourly wage and differs based on whether the overtime is on regular weekdays, weekends, or public holidays.

Employees can agree to work overtime for not more than 2 hours a day if needed. If the employee needs to work extra hours, the overtime pay may go at a rate of 125%. However, if it is between 10 pm to 4 am and off-days, it will go at a 150% rate.

  1. Working hours during Ramadan:

During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims in the UAE observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. To accommodate this practice, working hours for both Muslim and non-Muslim  employees are generally reduced by two hours per day. The total number of working hours per week is reduced to 36. Employees are entitled to overtime payment if they work more than 6 hours a day during Ramadan.

  1. Maximum working hours for specific industries:

Retail, hospitality, and healthcare industries often require extended working hours to cater to customer needs. However, per the Labor Law, employees in these sectors are entitled to additional compensation or time off in place of the extra hours worked.

  1. Night shifts and women’s working hours:

Labor Law in the UAE prohibits women from working night shifts, 10 pm – 7 am, in hazardous or physically demanding industries. For other industries, such as healthcare, women’s working hours should not exceed eight hours per day, including breaks.

  1. Break times:

Employees are entitled to rest breaks during their working hours. If an employee works consecutively for 5 hours, a break of at least one hour is mandated. However, the break duration may be shorter for specific industries or roles, such as retail. The break times are not calculated as working hours. 

  1. Weekly rest days:

Employees are entitled to at least one weekly rest day, typically Friday. For employees with a five-day workweek, Friday is the designated rest day. However, another day may be the rest day for those with a six-day workweek.

  1. Public holidays:

The UAE observes several public holidays that the government recognizes. These holidays include fixed and variable dates, and employees are entitled to a paid day off.

If an employee needs to work during a public holiday, their salary should be calculated in the basic salary rate × 12/365/8 × total overtime hours × 1.5 = total overtime pay. 

Importance of devising HR policies based on labor law

Devising HR policies that align with the UAE Labor Law 2023 is paramount. Such policies ensure legal compliance, demonstrate commitment to employee rights, and create a positive workplace culture. Implementing policies that accurately reflect the working hours, rest days, and compensation entitlements instills employee confidence and promotes fairness.

Managing attendance and overtime in organizations

Effectively managing employee attendance and overtime is crucial for operational efficiency and compliance. Companies can implement electronic attendance systems that accurately track employee working hours, rest days, and overtime. This minimizes errors, ensures accurate compensation, and prevents potential labor disputes.

Leveraging HR software for compliance and efficiency

UAE’s top HR software offers an ideal solution for managing attendance, working hours, and overtime while adhering to Labor Law. Modern HR platforms provide customizable modules that enable companies to track and manage employee attendance effortlessly. These platforms automate attendance recording, calculate overtime pay, and generate accurate reports for management and payroll processing.

Incorporating HR systems tailored to UAE Labor Law 2023 regulations can significantly streamline HR operations. It enhances accuracy, reduces administrative burden, and prevents compliance-related risks. By leveraging HR software in UAE, companies ensure that their HR policies align with the law and contribute to a harmonious and productive work environment.

Final thoughts

Comprehending the regulations surrounding working hours in the UAE is essential for HR managers and companies to devise HR policies that prioritize the well-being of employees while complying with the law. A well-structured HR policy can increase employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall success for individuals and organizations within the UAE.