June 18, 2024

Handling Employee Legalities in the UAE

Hiring in the UAE involves navigating a myriad of legal requirements to ensure compliance and smooth onboarding for new employees, especially if those employees are emigrating from overseas or of another nationality. Understanding these legalities is crucial for businesses to avoid potential pitfalls and ensure a seamless process. In this article, we’ll delve into key aspects such as document legalization, visa processing, employee contracts, compliance with local labor laws, ILOE insurance, and equivalency certificates. We’ll also highlight how partnering with Prism 7 Resourcing for your recruitment needs can streamline these processes, as our services and skills reach far beyond just recruitment!

Document Legalization for Employees

Document legalization is essential for verifying the authenticity of documents such as educational certificates, professional licenses, and other official records. Many candidates or employees will have already dealt with this if they are already working in the UAE or have done their research. But it is still a responsible step for an employer to check documentation is all accurate before taking on new personnel. The general process involves several steps:

  1. Notarization: Documents must first be notarized by a licensed notary public in the country of origin.
  2. Authentication by the Secretary of State: The notarized document is then authenticated by the Secretary of State in the issuing country.
  3. Legalization by the UAE Embassy or Consulate: The authenticated document is then legalized by the UAE Embassy or Consulate in the issuing country.
  4. Translation (if necessary): Some documents may need to be translated into Arabic by a certified translator.
  5. Final Authentication by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA): The final step involves authentication by MOFA in the UAE, confirming the document’s validity for official use.

Visa Processing New Employees

Managing the visa application process is crucial to ensure that employees are legally permitted to work in the UAE. The same as for document legalization above, if a person is already residing or working in the UAE then you may not have much to worry about here. However with top talent looking to relocate for the fantastic opportunities the UAE has on offer, it's more than likely some candidates will have to consider their VISA requirements. For most situations VISA acquisition is fairly straightforward in the UAE, and involves:

  1. Application Submission: Applying for the appropriate visa type based on the job role.
  2. Medical Examination: Employees must undergo a medical examination to ensure they are fit to work.
  3. Visa Approval: Once approved, the visa is stamped on the employee’s passport.
  4. Emirates ID Registration: Employees must also register for an Emirates ID, which is essential for various official and everyday transactions in the UAE.

Employee Contracts in the UAE

This is one is far more likely to affect a wide variety of employers, as it is crucial to protect not just the employee but the employer for most job roles. Contracts are often very much unique to the business offering the role or the exact role being offered so may require attention for each individual employee. Creating detailed employee contracts that comply with UAE labor laws is crucial. These contracts should clearly outline job roles, responsibilities, remuneration, benefits, and termination conditions. Ensuring that these contracts meet legal standards helps prevent disputes and protects both the employer and employee.

Compliance with UAE Labor Laws

Staying compliant with UAE labor laws is crucial for businesses operating in the region. The UAE has implemented comprehensive regulations to protect the rights of employees and ensure fair treatment across various aspects of employment. Key areas of focus include working hours, overtime, annual leave, termination procedures, and health and safety regulations. Below, we delve into each of these areas in more detail, highlighting recent updates and practical examples.

Working Hours and Overtime: According to UAE labor laws, the standard working hours are limited to 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. During the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced by two hours per day. For certain economic sectors or job categories, the working hours can be adjusted as specified by the Executive Regulations of the Labor Law​.

Overtime Regulations: Employees can work up to two additional hours per day as overtime. The pay for overtime during normal working hours is 125% of the regular pay, increasing to 150% if the overtime is between 10 pm and 4 am, or on non-working days. However, there are limits to the total number of overtime hours, which cannot exceed 144 hours over a three-week period.

Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to 30 days of fully paid annual leave after completing one year of service. For those who have completed six months but less than one year, the entitlement is two days per month. The law also allows employees to carry over unused leave to the following year, with the employer's consent, or to be paid in lieu of the unused days.

Termination Procedures: The UAE labor law specifies the conditions under which an employment contract can be terminated. Employers must provide a notice period, typically ranging from 14 days to one month, depending on the circumstances of the termination. Employees can also terminate their contracts, but must provide notice as stipulated in their contracts. Non-compete clauses can be included in contracts but are limited to two years and must be reasonable in scope and duration​.

Health and Safety Regulations: Employers are required to maintain a safe working environment and adhere to health and safety standards. This includes implementing policies to protect employees from workplace hazards, providing necessary training, and ensuring that safety measures are followed. Businesses with more than 50 employees must also have a grievances policy and a disciplinary sanctions policy.

ILOE Insurance for UAE Employees

In the UAE, employees are required to have Involuntary Loss of Employment (ILOE) insurance. This insurance provides financial support in case of unexpected job loss, ensuring employees are protected during transitional periods.

The UAE has introduced an unemployment insurance scheme covering 60% of an employee’s basic salary, with compensation capped at AED 20,000 per month. This scheme is mandatory for employees in the private and public sectors and is aimed at providing financial support during periods of unemployment​

Although employees in the UAE are responsible for subscribing to the Involuntary Loss of Employment (ILOE) insurance themselves, it would be good practice for employers to ensure this is done, and if possible provide an easy way for employees to do this or assistance finding the correct way to subscribe.

Equivalency Certificates to Work In The UAE

Employees might need equivalency certificates to ensure their qualifications are recognized in the UAE. This process involves the UAE’s Ministry of Education assessing and validating foreign educational credentials. Normally this is handled as part of the document legalization process, however we thought it's worth mentioning separately as it may be important in certain job roles for employers to be extra diligent with ensuring all potential employees of the business are qualified to the required level.

How Prism 7 Can Help With Employee Legalities

Navigating the complexities of UAE labor laws can be challenging, but with the right support, businesses can ensure compliance and maintain a fair working environment. By partnering with Prism 7 Resourcing UAE, you don't just get the best in staffing support, you get the full suite of services offered by the Prism 7 Group, which incorporates Prism 7 Corporate Services! Our teams collaborate and integrate to provide our clients and all-in-one solution to employment in the UAE.

This means candidates you are offered by us will already have had all of the concerns mentioned above considered! However it doesn't stop there, if you want to outsource the hassle of handling the requirements of the rest of your business, we can help with that. Just speak to one of our experts for a free consultation and see how we can help your business not only find new top talent, but ensure your entire teams are compliant and ready to get to work!

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Prism 7 resourcing provide specialist recruitment and staffing services to a variety of sectors, operating in the UK and UAE. Finding exceptional talent for exceptional businesses.
Part of the Prism 7 Group (UK & UAE)
© Dankee DMCC trading as Prism 7 Resourcing UAE 2023.
Reg Address: Office 3003, HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT, Dubai, UAE
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