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27 May 2024

Know The Law: You’re not required to work for over 5 hours continuously

By Shuchita Kapur

Working beyond normal office hours is quite an acceptable global practice among employees and most companies too appreciate it if their staff put in a bit more time and effort.

Even as circumstances vary across countries and from one company to another, working hours in the UAE are regulated by law and employees are well within their rights to stick to them.

According to Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law, the maximum number of ordinary working hours for adult employees shall be eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week.

However, these number of hours may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security and other jobs whose addition is based on the decision from the Ministry of Labour.

Just as the work hours may be increased for some, they can also be decreased for certain categories of employees.

The daily number of working hours may be reduced for strenuous or harmful work as decided by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (earlier known as Ministry of Labour).

In addition, ordinary working hours shall be reduced by two hours during Ramadan irrespective of the government and private sector or fasting and non-fasting employees.

Companies that flout this rule can be reprimanded and penalised by authorities.

No more than five consecutive hours of work

Article 66 of the Law further states that daily working hours shall be regulated so that the worker does not work more than five consecutive hours without intervals for rest, meals and prayer, whose total period shall not be less than one hour.

However, such intervals shall not be included in the working hours; so employees should not confuse the rest hour as her/his work hour.

As for the factories and workshops where work is carried out in successive shifts around the clock, or for work that requires uninterrupted work for technical and economic reasons, the Ministry of Labour regulates the method whereby workers are granted periods of rest, meals and prayer.

Note: As per Article 72, this provision does not apply to persons occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions and workers constituting the crew of naval vessels, and sea workers who shall enjoy special service conditions due to the nature of their work, with the exception of the port workers engaged in the loading and unloading and related operations.