Federal Law No 8, For 1980, On Regulation of Labour
Relations
We, Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates;
• After having reference to the Constitution;
• And to Law No. 1 for 1972, on the functions of the Ministries and the powers
• of the Ministers, and amending laws thereof;
• And based on the submission of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs,
• the approval of the Council of Ministers and the Federal National Council, and
ratification by the Supreme Council;
Issue the following law:

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UAE Labour Law
Chapter I: Definitions and General Provisions

Definitions1
 

Article 1
For the purpose of this law, the following terms and expressions shall have the
meanings herein assigned to them, unless the context requires otherwise:
1. Employer: Any natural or legal person employing one or more workers in
return for any kind of wage.
2. Worker: Any male or female working, for wage of any kind, in the service or
under the management or control of an employer, albeit out of his sight. This
term applies also to labourers and employees who are in an employer’s service
and are governed by the provisions of this Law.
3. Firm: Any economic, technical, industrial or commercial unit where
personnel are employed and whose objective is to produce or market
commodities or to provide services of any kind.
4. Employment Contract: Any agreement, for a definite or indefinite term,
concluded between an employer and an employee, whereby the latter
undertakes to work in the employer's service and under his management and
control, in return for a certain wage that the employer undertakes to pay.
5. Work: Any human effort- intellectual, technical or physical- exerted in return
for wage, irrespective of whether such work is permanent or temporary;
6. Temporary Work: An assignment that has to be carried out within a
specified period of time.
7. Agricultural Work: Work involving ploughing, cultivation, harvesting, or
breeding of cattle, poultry, silkworms, bees and the like.
8. Continuous Service: An uninterrupted service with the same employer or
his legal successor, from the service commencement date.
9. Wage: Any consideration, in cash or in kind, given to a worker, in return for
his service under an employment contract, whether on yearly, monthly,
weekly, daily, hourly, piece meal, output or commission basis.
The wage shall include the cost of living allowance. It shall also include any
grant given to a worker as a reward for his honesty or efficiency, provided
such amounts are stipulated in the employment contract or in the firm’s
internal regulations or are being so customarily granted that the firm workers
regard them as part of their wage and not as donations.
10. Basic Wage: The wage specified in a valid employment contract, exclusive of
any allowances whatsoever.
11. Occupational Injury: Any of the work-related diseases listed in the
schedule attached hereto or any other injury sustained by a worker during and
by reason of carrying out his duties. Any accident sustained by a worker on his
way to or back from work shall be considered an occupational injury, provided
that the journey to and from work is made without any break, lingering or
diversion from the normal route.
1 Translator’s Note: All references to the masculine gender in this translated text shall be
regarded as references to the feminine and neuter genders as well. Similarly, references to
nouns and pronouns in singular form shall equally denote the plural form.

12. Labour Department: The branches of the Ministry of Labour and Social
Affairs that are in charge of labour affairs in the emirates of the Federation.
General Provisions
Article 2
Arabic shall be the language to be used in all records, contracts, files, data, etc.
provided for in this Law or in any orders or regulations issued in implementation
thereof. Arabic shall also be used in instructions and circulars issued to employees by
their employer. Where the employer besides Arabic uses a foreign language, the
Arabic version shall prevail.
Article 3
The provisions of this Law shall not apply to the following categories:
1. Employees of the Federal Government and of governmental departments of
the emirates of the Federation, employees of municipalities, other employees
of federal and local public authorities and corporations, as well as employees
who are recruited against federal and local governmental projects.
2. Members of the armed forces, police and security.
3. Domestic servants employed in private households, and the like.
4. Farming and grazing workers, other than those working in agricultural
establishments that process their own products, and those who are
permanently employed to operate or repair mechanical equipment required
for agricultural work.
Article 4
Any payments due to an employee or his beneficiaries hereunder shall constitute a
first priority charge on all the employer's moveable and immovable property, and
shall be paid immediately upon settlement of any legal expenses, sums due to the
public treasury and Sharia's alimony awarded under Islamic Law to the wife and
children.
Article 5
Actions initiated by employees or their beneficiaries under this Law shall be exempt
from court fees at all stages of litigation and execution, and shall be dealt with in an
expeditious manner. Upon non-admission or dismissal of a case, the court may order
the plaintiff to pay all or part of the expenses.
Article 6
Without prejudice to the rules provided for under this Law concerning collective
labour disputes, if the employer, the worker or any beneficiary thereof disputes any of
the rights provided for any of them under this Law, he shall file an application to the
competent Labour Department, which shall summon both parties and take whatever
action it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably.
If no such amicable settlement is reached, the said Department shall, within two
weeks from the date of application, refer the dispute to the competent court under a
memorandum containing a summary of the dispute, the arguments of both parties,
and the Department’s comments. The court shall, within three days from date of
receiving the application, fix a hearing date and notify the parties accordingly. The
court may summon a representative of the Labour Department to explain the content
of the memorandum submitted by it.

In all cases, no claim for any of the rights provided for in this Law shall be heard if
brought to court after the lapse of one year from the date of accrual, nor shall any
claim be admitted if the procedures stated in this Article are not complied with.
Article 7
Any conditions contrary to the provisions of this Law, albeit precedent to the date of
effectiveness, shall be null and void unless they are more advantageous to the worker.
Article 8
The periods and dates referred to herein shall be calculated according to the
Gregorian calendar. For the purpose of this Law, a calendar year is regarded as 365
days, and a calendar month as 30 days, unless otherwise specified in the employment
contract.

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