FTC regulated: Yes

Remarks

See art. 38 FLLR.

Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation

Remarks

The law does not set out any limitation on the reasons for which a FTC can be concluded.

Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation

Remarks

Art. 38 FLLR provides that a contract concluded for a limited period can be renewed one or more times for similar or shorter periods by mutual agreement.

Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: no limitation

Remarks

Art.38 FLLR provides for a maximum duration of 4 years for a single FTC. However, there are no statutory limitations on the maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs.

Maximum probationary (trial) period (in months): 6 months

Remarks

Art. 37 FLLR: max. 6 months (not renewable).
Termination during that period is allowed without notice or end of service payment.

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee No

Remarks

Upon dismissal, the employer is not required inform the employees of the reasons for dismissal.

Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons

Remarks

1) Ordinary dismissal (with notice)
Art. 117(1) FLLR provides that either party may terminate an employment contract of indefinite duration for a valid reason at any time after the conclusion of the contract provided that the statutory notice requirements are observed.
Art. 122 FLLR provides that a dismissal is considered arbitrary if it is grounded on a reason which is not related to the employee's work.
Note that also redundancy is not referred to in the Law, it has been considered to be a valid reason for termination by the Courts.
2) Summary dismissal (without notice):
- In addition, according to art. 120 FLLR, the employer can dismiss an employee without notice in the following circumstances:
(i) during the employee's probationary period;
(ii) if the employee assumed a false identity or nationality, or otherwise submits false certificates or documents;
(iii) if the employee has caused the employer to suffer a material loss (provided that the employer notified the Ministry within 48 hours of discovering such incident);
(iv) if the employee fails to carry out instructions regarding industrial or workplace safety, provided that such instructions were in writing and posted in an accessible location or, if the employee is illiterate, he or she had been informed of them orally;
(v) if the employee fails to perform his or her basic duties under the employment contract despite knowledge that he or she will be dismissed if such failure continues;
(vi) if the employee reveals a 'secret of the establishment';
(vii) if the employee is found guilty of an offence involving honour, honesty or public morals;
(viii) if the employee is found, during working hours, in a state of drunkenness or under the influence of narcotic drugs;
(ix) if the employee, during working hours, assaults his or her employer, manager or any colleagues; or
(x) if the employee is absent from work, without valid reason, for more than 20 non-consecutive days in one year or more than seven consecutive days.

Note that a FTC can only be terminated for one of the above listed reasons (those listed in art. 120 FLLR). If a FTC contract is terminated for reasons other than those enumerated in art. 120 of the law, the employer is liable to pay compensation which shall not be more that the wages due for 3 months or for the remaining period, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise provided in the contract (art.115 LC).

Prohibited grounds: filing a complaint against the employer

Remarks

n particular, a termination
shall be regarded as arbitrary if it is prompted by a formal complaint filed by the
worker with the competent authorities or a legal action instituted against the
employer that proved to be valid.

Workers enjoying special protection: workers on temporary leave following an occupational disease or a work injury, nationals

Remarks

- UAE national employees:
National employee account for a tiny proportion of the workforce in the private sector. [Some sources refer to 0.3%, (see:http://www.uaeinteract.com/docs/Emiratis_in_private_sector_make_0.3_percent_of_workforce/36439.htm) other to 7 % (see: http://story.arabherald.com/index.php/ct/9/cid/-e3942fd745a4fbc9/id/45389170/)]
Article 1 of the Decision 176 states that dismissal of a UAE national employee will be regarded as "illegal" (literally "without legal ground") in one of the following four circumstances:
On February 2009, a Ministerial Resolution No 176 restricting the conditions for dismissing a UAE national employees was adopted. This decision provides that the dismissal of a UAE national is unlawful in one of the following 4 circumstances:
1) where the UAE employee is dismissed for reasons other than those mentioned in Article 120 of the FLLR (i.e for reasons other those allowing for summary dismissal);
2) if it is proven that the employer retains a non-UAE national who is performing work similar to that performed by the dismissed UAE national;
3) the employer failed to inform the Ministry of Labour 30 days prior to the dismissal, or failed to comply with the Ministry's instructions within the designated times; and
4) if it is proven that the UAE employee was not paid the full compensation due to him and the payment of his full retirement benefits as specified in the Federal Law on Labour Relations, its implementing regulations, the contract of employment or any other contractually binding document.
Art. 3 of that Decision sets out the consequence of a violation of the Decision as follows: if the Ministry of Labour considers that the termination of the UAE national was unlawful it will inform the employer as which will then have 15 days to resolve the dispute with the UAE employee according to the directives of the Ministry. If the employer fails to resolve the dispute within this period, the matter is referred immediately to the relevant court and the Ministry will put stop issuing new labour permits (requested by the employer) until the court renders a final judgment in the matter.
(Note that the Ministerial Decision No. 176/2009 is not available in English but is summarized in Hadef and Partner, "Employment of UAE Nationals", 31 May 2009. The link to this article is provided below under "Scope of additional information")

- Workers on temporary sick leave:
The FFLR prohibits the dismissal of a worker on the ground that he or she is medically unfit to work before the worker exhausts all the periods of leave to which he entitled under the law (art. 124). Furthermore, an employer shall not dismiss a worker or serve a notice of dismissal while the worker is on annual leave or sick leave except in circumstances entailing summary dismissal (art. 90 FLLR).

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: written

Remarks

Art. 117 FLLR.

Notice period:

Remarks

Art. 117 FLLR provides that either party may terminate a contract of unlimited duration for a valid reason at any time provided that written notice is given to the other party at least 30 days prior to termination.
In respect of employees paid on a daily-basis, the period of notice is as follows:
- one week in the employee has worked for more than six months but less than one year;
- two weeks if the employee has worked for at least one year;
- one month if the employee has worked for at least five years.

tenure ≥ 6 months:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 0.25 months.

tenure ≥ 9 months:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 0.25 months.

tenure ≥ 2 years:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 0.5 months.

tenure ≥ 4 years:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 0.5 months.

tenure ≥ 5 years:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 10 years:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 1 months.

tenure ≥ 20 years:

  • All: 1 months.
  • workers paid on a daily basis or by piece-rate: 1 months.

Pay in lieu of notice: Yes

Remarks

Art. 119 FLLR.

Notification to the public administration: No

Remarks

Notification is however required in the event of a dismissal of national employees (which only account for a small percentage of the workforce in the private sector). Under art.1.3 of the Ministerial Resolution No. 176 of 2009 "Restricting the Dismissal of UAE National Employees", the dismissal of a UAE national in unlawful if the employer failed to inform the Ministry of Labour at least 30 days prior to the dismissal or fails to comply with the Ministry's instructions within the designated times.

Notification to workers' representatives: No

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned): No statutory definition of collective dismissal or economic dismissal (redundancy)

Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): No

Notification to the public administration: No

Notification to workers' representatives: No

Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

Approval by workers' representatives: No

Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

Remarks

No priority rules for collective dismissal as such. However, it is important to keep in mind that UAE nationals enjoy special protection against dismissal. Pursuant to the Ministerial Resolution No 176 of 2009, it is unlawful to dismiss a UAE national employee in 4 instance including: 1) where the UAE employee is dismissed for reasons other than those mentioned in Article 120 of the Labour Law (ie for reasons other than summary dismissal) (Article 1.1) or
2) if it is proven that the employer retains a non-UAE national who is performing work similar to that performed by the dismissed UAE national (Article 1.2).

Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): Yes

Priority rules for re-employment: No

Notes / Remarks

Notes

The Federal Law on Labour Relations does not contain any provision on dismissals (individual or collective) for economic reasons.

Severance pay:

Remarks

According to art. 132 FLLR, a worker who has completed one year or more of continuous service is entitled to severance pay (also referred to as "end of service gratuity") at the end of his employment. Severance pay is calculated as follows:
- 21 days' wages for each year of the first five years of service; and
- 30 days' wages for each additional year, provided that the total amount does not exceed 2 years' wages.
A worker shall be entitled to severance pay for any fraction of a year during which he actually served, provided that he has completed one year of continuous service (art. 133 FLLR)

There is no entitlement to severance pay if the employee is terminated for one of the reasons set out in Article 120 of the Labour Law (those entailing summary dismissal) (art. 139 FLLR).

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0.7 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 2.8 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 3.5 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 8.5 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 18.5 months

Redundancy payment:

Remarks

No specific redundancy pay. Severance pay covers dismissals for economic reasons.

tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 months

tenure ≥ 1 year: 0.7 months

tenure ≥ 2 years: 1.4 months

tenure ≥ 4 years: 2.8 months

tenure ≥ 5 years: 3.5 months

tenure ≥ 10 years: 8.5 months

tenure ≥ 20 years: 18.5 months

Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: No

Remarks

Art. 123 FLLR.

Compensation for unfair dismissal - Legal limits (ceiling in months or calculation method): Maximum 3 months' wages calculated on the basis of the worker's last wages.

Remarks

See art. 123 FLLR

Reinstatement available: No

Remarks

The FLLR does not provide for reinstatement.
However, some sources state that the dismissal of a UAE national employee in violation of the terms of the Ministerial Decision No 176 of 2009 may entail reinstatement although not expressly provided in that Decision. Art. 3 of that Decision sets out the consequence of a violation of the Decision as follows: if the Ministry of Labour considers that the termination of the UAE national was unlawful it will inform the employer as which will then have 15 days to resolve the dispute with the UAE employee according to the directives of the Ministry. If the employer fails to resolve the dispute within this period, the matter is referred immediately to the relevant court and the Ministry will put stop issuing new labour permits (requested by the employer) until the court renders a final judgment in the matter.
(see for instance, Latham & Watkins, "Employment Issues in the United Arab Emirates", October 2009, p.4, available at: http://www.lw.com/upload/pubContent/_pdf/pub2801_1.pdf)

Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

Remarks

See art. 6 FLLR: the dispute shall be first brought to the
Labour Department which handles a conciliation process. If no amicable settlement is reached, the Labour Department will refer the dispute to the Court within 15 days from the date of submission.

Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): ordinary courts

Existing arbitration: No

Remarks

Arbitration is not available for the settlement of individual disputes. However, in the event of a collective dispute, if no settlement is reached before the Labour Department during the mediation process, the dispute is then referred to the Conciliation Board which shall issue a decision on the dispute. The decision of the Conciliation Boards can be appealed before The Supreme Arbitration Committee (see arts. 158-161 FLLR)

Length of procedure: 1year(s)

Remarks

Info found in secondary sources:
In case of an individual labour dispute, the conciliation phase before the Ministry of labour generally takes 2-4 weeks.
When the case is referred to the Court of first instance, it generally takes one year to be adjudicated.
If the employee appeals the decision of the Court of Instance and goes to the Court of Cassation, the process is longer: generally additional 2 years.
(See: The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Employment & Labour Law 2011, "United Arab Emirates", (Chap. 32) by Alfridi & Angel, available at: http://www.iclg.co.uk/khadmin/Publications/pdf/4385.pdf