G-P can help its customers access talent in the UAE through our human resources and other related consulting services in the UAE. If your company is interested in learning more about the UAE market and seeking a way to access local talent without first establishing a branch office or subsidiary in the UAE, G-P is your solution. Our UAE employees are hired in accordance with local labor laws and can be ready in days instead of the months it typically takes. The individual is providing services to your company to fulfill your in-country service needs.
Our comprehensive solution and local services enable customers to receive the benefits of our local employees in the UAE while the responsibilities of local HR services, tax, and compliance management matters are ours. As a Global Employment expert, we manage employment contract best practices, statutory and market norm benefits, and employee expenses, as well as severance and termination, if required. We also keep you apprised of changes to local employment laws in the UAE.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing you have a team of dedicated employment experts assisting with your every local need. G-P allows you to harness the talent of the brightest people in the UAE, quickly and painlessly.
Hiring in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates comprises seven Emirates. Most U.S. technology companies hiring sales employees in the UAE focus on the emirates of Abu Dhabi or Dubai. There are also approximately 45 free trade zones in the UAE, more than 30 of which are located in Dubai, each managed by its own free zone authority. Traditionally, companies in the UAE would establish a branch office or subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, Dubai or in one of the free zones, which would enable the company to sponsor or access work permits and thus hire employees. Working with G-P, you can have access to talent in the UAE without setting up branch offices or subsidiaries.
A business license is required for any business operating in the UAE. Employees must be sponsored under the correct visa in the UAE, either by their employer if on the mainland, or by the respective free trade zone authority if working for a company in the free zone. A company must have the appropriate business license(s) in order to obtain a visa for its employees. If an employee is found to be living and working in the UAE without a visa, or if a company sponsoring an employee’s visa is not properly licensed, the employee may be asked to leave the country and both the employee and the company may be blacklisted from doing business in the UAE.
We handle the processing of all visa applications for the expat employees working for G-P.
The UAE Labour Law regulates employment on the mainland of the UAE. If employees are employed in a free zone, their employment is regulated by the employment law adopted by the free zone authority where the employee is employed, which may contain differences from the UAE Labour Law. Each free zone authority has its own employment law and employees are subject to the rules and regulations of their respective free zone authorities.
If you are considering setting up and hiring in the UAE when negotiating the terms of an employment contract, it may be useful to keep the following in mind:
Employment Contracts in the UAE
A written contract is required to submit an application for visa sponsorship. It is best practice for companies to put in place a strong, written contract in both Arabic and English which spells out the terms of the employee’s compensation, benefits, and termination requirements. Any employment contract in the UAE should always state the salary and any compensation amounts in United Arab Emirates Dirham (AED) rather than a foreign currency.
All of our local employees are provided with robust locally compliant employment contracts that include protection of intellectual property of our customers. You get access to great talent in the UAE, with no need to enter into your own employment contracts.
Working Hours in the UAE
In the UAE, the standard working week is Monday to Friday, with 40 working hours. Actual working hours may vary according to the needs and requirements of the job responsibilities. The maximum working hours in the UAE are 8 hours a day, or 48 hours in a week. The UAE federal government has adopted a four and a half-day working week. Hence, government sector employees work eight hours, from 7.30 am to 3.30 pm from Monday to Thursday, and from 7.30 am to 12.00 pm on Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays are the official weekends.
Subject to prior approval being received, employees can claim overtime as per UAE labor law. If the circumstances require the employee to work on an off-day, as specified in the labor contract, or work regulations, then the employee will be entitled to a substitute rest day, or pay equal to normal working hours’ remuneration (which is based on basic salary) plus 50 percent of that pay.
During Ramadan, local laws state that working hours must be reduced by 2 hours a day.
Holidays in the United Arab Emirates
An employee is entitled to an official holiday with the full wage for all holidays declared by the government for the public and private sectors.
Islamic Holidays are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon, and the dates given above are approximations. Therefore, the dates of the holidays are subject to change, and we cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
The number of days of holiday is based on expected days off for the private sector. Private sector employees are entitled to full pay on official holidays;
- New Year’s Day (1 day)
- Eid Al Fitr (3 or 4 days)
- Eid Al Adha (4 days)
- Islamic New Year (1 or 2 days)
- Prophet’s Birthday (1 or 2 days)
- Commemoration Day (1 day)
- UAE National Day
Vacation Days in the UAE
Thirty calendar days of vacation is a market norm benefit in the UAE. Vacation leave is often based on length of service:
- Less than 6 months: The employee is not entitled to an annual vacation
- 6-12 months: The employee is entitled to an annual vacation of not less than two days each month
- Over 1 year: The employee is entitled to 30 days of vacation
Vacation time that is not used may be carried forward and accrued or paid out in lieu. Unless advised otherwise by an employer employees must utilize their annual leave in the applicable annual leave year.
Employees are entitled to a payment in lieu of unused leave upon the termination of employment calculated on the basis of an employee’s basic salary only.
UAE Sick Leave
After three months of continuous service following the probation period, an employee is entitled to up to 90 days of sick leave per year, paid as follows:
- The full wage for the first 15 days.
- The half wage for the next 30 days.
- The remaining period would be without a wage.
However, if the employee’s illness is directly caused by his misconduct, s/he is not entitled to any wage during the sick leave.
During the probationary period, the employee may get a sick leave without pay, subject to the approval of the employer and based on a medical report issued by the medical entity that stipulates the necessity of the leave.
Maternity/Paternity Leave in the UAE
Working women shall be entitled to 60 days of maternity leave, 45 days full pay, and 15 days half pay.
If the employee gives birth after 6 months or more from pregnancy, either the child is born deceased or alive or born alive then deceased, the employee is entitled to 45 days based on full pay, following 15 days based on half-pay, then following consecutive or inconsecutive 45 days without pay based on a report from a Medical Authority.
In case an employee gives birth to a sick child or People of Determination who require a full-time attendance based on a report from a medical authority then the employee shall be entitled to 30 days after the maternity leave, extended to another 30 days without pay.
In UAE, 5 paid working days of Paternity leave is granted and can be taken consecutively or non-consecutively within the first six months of birth (available to mother and father).
Health Insurance in the United Arab Emirates
For expats, insurance coverage is mandatory for employees and discretionary but best practice to cover dependents.
G-P provides private health insurance to our UAE employees.
UAE Supplementary Benefits
The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia that Muslims are expected to complete at least once in their lifetime. Under UAE Labour Law, employees may be granted a one-time pilgrimage leave of up to 30 days without pay.
Termination/Severance in the UAE
An employee who completes one year or more in continuous service is entitled to a severance (sometimes referred to as a ‘gratuity’) at the end of their service. If an employee is terminated, he or she would be entitled to gratuity pay as follows:
- If service is less than 1 year, End of Service Benefit is not applicable.
- If service is between 1 to 5 years, End of Service Benefit is calculated as 21 days base salary * number of years
- If service is more than 5 years, End of Service Benefit is calculated as 21 days base salary for the first 5 years + 30 days basic salary for the rest of the years
Paying Taxes in the United Arab Emirates
There are no employer taxes in the UAE, however, we recommend accruing 8.3% of the employee’s compensation as for the End of Service Benefit or Gratuity.
Establishing a branch office or subsidiary in the UAE to engage a small team can be time-consuming, expensive and complex. It may also be unnecessary. G-P can give you quick and painless access to talent in the UAE.
If you would like to discuss how G-P can support your business in the UAE, please contact us.