Know The Law: Are you exempt from provisions of UAE Labour Law?

The UAE Labour Law is designed to protect the interest of the employees and the employers and to ensure that fair work practices are applicable and enforced in all the companies operating out of the country.

According to Article 3 of the Law, it applies to all employees working in the UAE, whether UAE nationals or expatriates.

However, there are certain categories of employees who are exempt from the law and many have to follow another set of regulations.

As amended by Federal Law no 24 dated 7/11/1981, and Federal Law no 12 dated 29/10/1986, the provisions listed in the law do not apply to certain categories.

These include:

1) Employees and workers of the federal government and the governmental departments in the Emirates, members of the State, the employees and workers in public entities and institutions, whether federal or local, and employees and workers appointed for governmental, federal and local projects.

2) Members of the armed forces, police and security.

3) Domestic servants in private households and similar occupations.

4) Workers in farms or pastures with the exception of persons working in agricultural institutions processing the products or employees permanently operating or repairing mechanical machines required for agriculture.

Besides these categories of employees, those working in free zones are generally not governed by the UAE Labour Law. Each free zone has its own employment law.

Employees working in places such as Jebel Ali Free Zone and the Dubai Airport Free Zone are subject to the rules and regulations of the free zone concerned and maintain their own employment contracts.

Having said that, the provisions set out in the employment contract of the free zone must be in accordance with what is stated the Labour Law.

Moreover, it should be noted that free zone employees are sponsored by the relevant free zones and not by their employers.

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