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Disconnect to reconnect. Numerous studies have shown positive effects of having breaks at work. Allowing the body to rest can reduce stress, boost creativity, increase employee engagement and improve the overall health of the employees. Taking note of these reports, the Dubai administration has followed suit and made it mandatory for employers to give breaks to employees during working hours.

Mainland private sector companies incorporated in the UAE must provide their employees with breaks in between working hours with no less than one hour in total. Moreover, no employee may work for more than five hours in a day without taking a break.

The employees may approach the employer and request to give breaks during working hours in accordance with the Employment Law. What’s more, in case the employer fails to comply, even a complaint can be filed with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). If the dispute remains unsettled after the complaint, the Ministry may refer the matter to the court under Article 54(2) of the Employment Law.

Having said that, the working hours may be increased or decreased for certain economic sectors or for certain categories of workers, as specified by the ‘Executive Regulations’ of the Labour law. The time spent by the employee commuting from his place of residence to his workplace is not included in the working hours, except in certain circumstances. Not to mention in case the employee works for more than one employer, the original employer and other employers may not require the worker to work more than the hours agreed in the employment contract unless the worker agrees to do so in writing.

UAE Labour Law identifies the normal working hours for the private sector as 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. On the other hand, if the nature of the work requires the employee to work beyond the normal working hours, then, he will be entitled to a payment equal to normal working hours’ remuneration based on a basic salary plus 25 per cent of that pay. Further, it could increase to 50% in case over time has been done between 10 pm and 4 am.

The Law applies to all employees except government and municipal workers, army, police, domestic servants, agricultural workers and workers in high-level managerial and supervisory positions. Likewise, different law applies to financial free zones.

MOHRE has recently announced midday break rules which will come into effect on 15th June & continue till 15th September 2022. The same prohibits UAE companies, especially construction and landscaping companies, & organizations, which have outdoor workers from having their employees working outside in direct sunlight between 12.30 and 3 pm.

Our top employment lawyers of Dubai have in-depth knowledge of the employment/labour laws enforced in the UAE. For legal consultation contact us at or call +971508014003.

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