The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued Federal Law No. 33 of 2021 (the New Labor Law), which will take effect Feb. 2, 2022, and will repeal UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 (the Current Labor Law).
The UAE is continuing to advance its laws and procedures to facilitate business and enhance the competitiveness and productivity of the national labour market. The new law represents progress in the efforts to improve the national labour market’s sustainability.
The new labour law has introduced a raft of amendments and employment reforms that empower employees in the private sector in the UAE, including its free zones, save for the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Abu Dhabi Global Market, which implement their own employment laws. The Private companies and establishments must replace unlimited contracts with three-year fixed-term contracts within a year from tomorrow.
The new law covers over 4.9 million private sector employees across the country and introduces a number of unexpected changes. The new law’s amendments stipulate employers may not use any means of force against workers or use threats of penalty to make them work against their will. The law also prohibits sexual harassment, bullying or any verbal, physical or psychological violence against workers by their superiors or colleagues and any type of discrimination based on race, colour, sex, religion, nationality or disability.