Part-Time Employment in the UAE

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) enacted a new system under Ministerial Decree Number 31 of 2018 concerning the introduction of Part-Time Employment Contracts. This new system allows certain employees to take part-time employment. According to UAE legislation, part-time employment is a contract in which the employer and an employee (national/expatriate) agree that the work hours shall be less than normal ones that are less than 8 hours in a day.

Any UAE national or expatriate within the UAE who holds a valid visa and is above the age of 18 years can apply for a part-time job permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). People on tourist or visit visas cannot apply for a part-time work permit. Ministerial Decree Number 31 of 2018 defines ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ employers and therefore the distinction between the two is vital as they carry different roles and responsibilities.

The primary employer is the first employer of an employee who holds the significant role of a sponsor of the worker and pays the associated prices. As a primary employer, he must apply for the first work permit of an employee and the payment associated with it. In addition, the primary employer has to provide the employee with his end of service gratuity, annual leave, and any other financial obligations regarding the employee’s working hours and wages.

A secondary employer means any other employer where an employee works part-time. A secondary employer has to pay the associated prices of the second or third part-time job since a permit is required for each part-time job. The secondary employer has to provide a salary for an employee. The secondary employee is not legally bound to pay any other statutory benefits for an employee but can offer such benefits on a discretionary basis.

A No Objection Certificate (NOC) is not required from an employer to commence part-time work. However, as mentioned earlier an employee must obtain a work permit for part-time jobs from the MoHRE before commencing a part-time job. An employee must inform all his employers if he takes another part-time work. And the MoHRE will inform all employers when it issues a new permit for an employee to work under another employer.

According to Article 8 of the Ministerial Decree Number 31, an employee is not allowed to work more than 48 hours a week and is entitled to a weekly off. In case of necessity, an employee can work for 60 hours a week. The primary and secondary employers cannot ask an employee to work more than the stipulated time without written consent. And also, the primary and secondary employer cannot stop an employee from operating in another institution that is analogous to their institution by hoping on a non-compete clause or confidential information clause within the contract unless they need a court judgment that states that they can prohibit the employee in this way. An employee can convert his part-time job to full-time after terminating the current part-time work. In such cases, the employee should reach out to employment lawyers to know more about the legalities of employment contracts in the UAE.

The standard forms for the MoHRE supply of employment and contract shall stay similar, which means either a standard limited or a standard unlimited contract. However, the main difference will be mirrored in the title of the contract and the number of hours in the agreement. And also, a contract with a secondary employer is significantly different from a contract with a primary employer regarding the benefits for an employee. The parties may or may not agree to include the benefits such as the end of service gratuity, annual leave, etc. for an employee.

The implementation of Ministerial Decree Number 31 provides more flexibility for both employers and employees. This system helps the employers who need and solely have a budget to appoint a part-time employee and also helps the employees who wish to work for fewer hours or would like to work in different roles. However, these types of contracts are applicable only to skilled workers and not everyone can apply for the same as we mentioned earlier.