Workers’ Welfare Report 2017-2018
Workers’ Welfare Report 2017-2018 (PDF, 200 KB) highlights a set of policies and programmes adopted and implemented by MoHRE during 2016-2017 and their positive impact on the labour market. The ministry seeks to enhance transparency and balance in the contractual employment relationship in line with its vision to empower Emiratis and attract foreign talent from around the world.
The UAE introduced many advanced legislations to protect workers, most notably the Domestic Labour Law No. 10 of 2017, in addition to a package of decisions regarding approved contracts, changing jobs and terminating contracts that came into effect in 2016.
On the international level, MoHRE continues to work closely with countries of labour origin to improve the protection offered to workers who are at risk of abuse. At Abu Dhabi Dialogue, an event organised by MoHRE, the ministry aimed to empower workers through skills.
Implementing labour law for private sector and labourers
The UAE Labour Law provides rules about safety and protection of employees of private sector and labourers. For example, the mid-day break rule bans labourers from working outdoor directly under the sun during afternoons in the summer. There are a number of initiatives to enforce such compliance including:
The UAE passed several decrees to protect workers' rights that cover recruitment, pay, housing and health. New labour reforms that took effect in the UAE on 1 January 2016 place tremendous responsibility on the employers for protecting the workers. The new reforms focus on improving transparency of job terms and employment contracts, spell out how contracts can be terminated and make it easier for workers to switch employers. Under the new policies, prospective workers will be asked to sign a standard employment offer in their home country that will in turn be filed with MoHRE before a work permit is issued.
That agreement will then be registered as a legal contract once the worker arrives in the country and no changes will be allowed unless they extend additional benefits to which the worker agrees. Either side will be able to terminate the contract, after which the worker will be free to switch to a new employer.
Spreading awareness amongst workers
MoHRE launches many awareness campaigns to educate labourers about their rights. One of these campaigns was initiated under the slogan 'Know your rights'. The campaign communicated the following messages to workers:
- You are entitled to keep possession of all your personal identification documents once your residency permit is issued
- If you are asked to sign a contract with terms and conditions which are different from MoHRE's standard contracts, report immediately to the nearest labour office even if you are advised that the changes are of advantage to you, as contract substitution is illegal
- If your employer fails to present you with a contract or provide you with work, MoHRE will assist you in finding alternative employment
- If your employer fails to present you with a work contract within one week of your arrival, report to the nearest labour office
- To avoid violating the law, do not accept other employment without first reporting to the Labour Office at MoHRE
- UAE law requires your employer to pay the costs of the issuance of an entry visa and travel to the UAE, and the costs of post arrival processing requirements such as medical tests in the UAE and the issuance of your Residency Permit
- Your contract must match your job offer and you should keep a copy of your signed contract
- You have the right to leave your job at any time, but be aware of your contractual obligations
- The termination of your contract can be ended by the employer or the employee and it can be by mutual consent
- It is important for employees to follow the required legal steps for terminating a contract as the Labour Office can help recover any dues that are owed to the employee and arrange placement in alternative employment if eligible to obtain a new work permit
Source: A Warm Emirati Welcome to All Arriving Guest Workers (PDF, 200 KB).
Setting up channels to resolve labour disputes
In the private sector
If an employee has a complaint or a query, he can call MoHRE's 24-hour toll-free number 80060.
The UAE has established offices in courts to provide legal support to workers in labour disputes and labour care units have been established across the UAE to provide protection for workers and raise awareness of their rights.
For more information, check the following links on labour disputes associated with labour law as applied in the private sector:
Reporting injury or death at workplace
In case of an injury or death at workplace, the employer/s must inform Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation within 24 hours from the incident. Read more.
Passing the domestic labour law
In September 2017, H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE approved Federal Law No. 10 of 2017 on support of domestic helpers. The law, also known as Domestic Labour Law offers protection to workers.
Prior to this law, the matters of domestic workers were under the purview of Ministry of Interior. However, now they are under the purview of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Learn more on Domestic Labour Law.
Updated on 19 Feb 2020