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Labour Law in the UAE

The UAE continues to make large strides in its drive to improve the working conditions of migrant labourers, particularly in the construction industry.

Although the country’s labour law provides for a number of rights for such workers, some firms have been slow in implementing these rights which clearly set out the minimum requirements for workers in the UAE.
Labour law is generally defined as the law’s administrative rulings and precedents that address legal rights and restrictions of workers and their employers. In the UAE, the primary piece of labour law legislation is Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations, which lays out a set of terms and conditions for the protection of workers in the workplace. This Law is supplemented by Ministerial Resolutions or Decrees issued by the Ministry of Labour addressing specific issues, such as health and safety, mechanisms to ensure timely payment of workers, and working hours.

According to Andrew Elias, CEO of Dubai-based Kele Contracting, a construction firm established in 2005 in partnership with Enshaa PSC and Australian affiliate Kele International Holdings, UAE labour law has made significant progress in addressing the allegations of poor pay and conditions, imposed debts, customary confiscation of travel documents, and the denial of basic rights that surrounded the construction industry until quite recently. 


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