In The UAE: What Do The Rules Say About The Overtime Allowances Of The Employees? 

Professional life can be extremely harsh sometimes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as it might force you to sacrifice some important parts of your social life. Make no mistake, this phenomenon is not restricted to a particular region and is quite common in several countries across the globe. Apart from putting in the mandatory work timings of 8-9 hours, most of the time employees might be asked to stretch beyond these as well. It is understandable if the long working hours happen to be a case of few and far in between but things can go horribly wrong if the extra working hours become a routine affair. Under such circumstances, are the workers, in question, entitled to overtime allowances? How these are arrived at? So, today we will find out what such a situation implies in the UAE. 

Like anywhere else in the world even in this Gulf country, the working conditions are determined by the stipulated employment contract. If a worker is asked to work for extra hours, then as per the UAE labour law, the employee is entitled to get an extra sum for the hours that he puts in. So, before joining an organization, a worker has to ensure that his contract of employment is very transparent on this matter. 

What The Law Stipulates? 

As per Article 17 of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) Of 2021 that control labour relations, working hours on each day in the private sector happens to be eight working hours or 48 hours per week. However, these mandatory work hours are subject to increase or decrease with regard to certain economic domains or particular types of employment. Aside from the working hours, the timings during which it is not desirable to work for some categories of workers are specifically mentioned in the decree.  

What Does Article 19 Of The UAE Labour Law Say? 

According to Article 19 of the UAE labour law, the employer might direct the worker to put in extra work hours beyond the mandatory timings, however, these additional hours should not go beyond two hours per day. Also, the employee could be directed to work more than that period. Whatever the case, the cumulative working hours cannot stretch beyond one hundred and forty-four hours every three weeks. 

The Math Involved In The Overtime 

If an employee or employees work in a sphere that makes it necessary to give time above the normal working hours then the additional hours will come within the ambit of overtime. And for the same, the worker should get a salary pertaining to the normal working hours, which is arrived at as per the basic wage and a spike of at least twenty-five percent of that wage.  

However, if the work conditions warrant the worker to work beyond the timings between 10 pm and 4 am, the worker shall receive, as far as the overtime is concerned, the wage stipulated by law for the usual working hours that are computed as per the basic wage and an increase of minimum fifty percent of that wage. Nevertheless, the people employed according to shifts are excluded from this clause. Significantly, Article 19 gives the employee the right to refuse work for more than two consecutive weekend days as well. 


So, in the UAE, if an employee is made to work for more than the stipulated working hours, he is entitled to an overtime allowance as per law. Also, the work contract that specifies the working conditions of the employees becomes binding for the workers as well as the employers.  

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