UAE: Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Issuing the Labour Law




UAE: Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Issuing the Labour Law

Date of adoption



20 April 1980

(last amended by: Federal Law No. 14 of 1999)


Entry into force


In effect

Text versions






The scope of applicability of this law is defined in Art. 3, which excludes domestic workers.

In accordance with Art. 5, cases filed by employees or their beneficiaries under this Law shall be exempted from court fees at all stages of litigation and execution and shall be expeditiously heard. In the event of non-acceptance or dismissal of the action, the court may order the Plaintiff to pay all or part of the expenses.

Art. 13 stipulates that non-nationals may be employed subject to the approval of the Labour Department and the attainment of a work permit, which may only be granted if the employee has the professional competence or educational qualifications needed and has entered the country legally and complied with the required residence conditions.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs may cancel work permits granted to non-nationals if the employee remains unemployed for more than three months; if he fails to meet any of the conditions on the basis of which the permit was granted or if the Ministry finds a qualified national to replace him (Art. 15).

Art. 18 prohibits any licensed labour agent or supplier from demanding or accepting payment from any worker in exchange for recruitment.

Any non-national employee who absents himself from work without lawful reasons prior to the end of the contract for a limited period, may not take up employment elsewhere even with the consent of the employer for one year (Art. 128). This also applies to cases in which the non-national employee notifies his employer of his desire to terminate his unlimited contract but leaves work before the end of the legal notice period (Art. 129).

Art. 131 determines that the employer shall bear the expenses for repatriating an employee to his place of origin or any other place agreed upon by both parties. If the employee after the end of his contract takes up employment elsewhere, repatriation expenses shall be paid by the last employer.