27 Mar 2018

New Resolution on Part-time working in the UAE

Authored by: The Employment Team

New Resolution on Part-time working in the UAE
  • Ministerial Resolution No. 31 of 2018 provides for a new system which will allow certain employees to take several part-time jobs.
  • Such employees will not require permission from their existing employer(s), as is the case currently for part-time workers.
  • Employers cannot prevent the employee from working in another establishment which is similar to their own establishment by relying on a non-compete clause or confidential information clause unless they have a Court judgment which states that they can restrict the employee in this way.


It has recently been reported that the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) has launched a new system which allows eligible employees to take on one or more part-time jobs.

The MoHRE’s new Minister, Nasser Al Hamli, said the new system ‘would improve flexibility in the labour market, cut costs and reduce companies’ dependence on workers imported from outside the country.’

The Ministerial Resolution which puts into place this new system is Ministerial Resolution No. 31 of 2018 (“MR31 of 2018”) which was issued on 21 January 2018 and published and enacted at the beginning of this month.

Previously, part-time work permits were available from the MoHRE but were not widely used, mainly because employees required approval from their original employer in the form of a No Objection Certificate (“NOC”).

The Resolution

Who does MR31 of 2018 apply to?

It applies to national and foreign employees based within the UAE or overseas who are classed as skilled first and second tier workers (that is to say that they hold a university degree or higher or they have completed a diploma in any technical or scientific field).

What are the roles of each employer?

MR31 of 2018 defines ‘Primary’ and ‘Secondary’ employers and the distinction between the two is important as they carry different responsibilities. The Primary employer is the first employer and holds the most significant role as they sponsor the employee and pay the associated costs. As the first employer, the Primary employer must also apply for the first work permit and pay those associated costs too. Further, the Primary employer will have to provide the employee with their end of service gratuity, annual leave and any other financial obligations, pro-rated with reference to the employee’s working hours and wage (Article 6).

The Secondary employer is any other employer. An employee may agree with the Secondary employer(s) the benefits referred to above in Article 6 but does not have to provide them if they have not been agreed between the parties. The Secondary employer would cover the associated costs of the second (or third, etc.) part-time permit as a part-time permit is required for each part-time job.

What permissions are required?

Importantly, a NOC is no longer required from any of the employers. However, MR31 of 2018 makes it clear that a part-time work permit must be obtained from the MoHRE by the employee before the employee commences a part-time role (Article 4). The MoHRE will also inform all employers when it issues a permit to another employer and there is also an obligation on the employee to inform all of its employers if they take another part-time role (Article 7).

How many hours can the employee work?

The contract with the Primary employer must be 20 hours a week or more (and must be less than 8 hours a day or less than 48 hours a week). In case of urgent business needs, the employee can work 60 hours a week. The employee is also entitled to one day vacation per week (Article 8).

The Primary or Secondary employer(s) cannot ask the employee to work more that the agreed hours without written approval (Article 5). An employee can only convert their part-time contract to full time if all the current part-time arrangements are terminated.

Can the employee work for a competitor?

MR31 of 2018 states that none of the employers can prevent the employee from working in another establishment which is similar to their own establishment by relying on a non-compete clause or confidential information clause in the contract, unless they have a Court judgment which states that they can restrict the employee in this way.

Does the UAE Labour Law apply?

Other than as specifically provided in MR31 of 2018, the UAE Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 (as amended) applies to part-time contracts (Article 4).

What are the types of part-time contracts?

The standard forms for the MoHRE offer of employment and employment contract shall remain the same, that is either a standard limited or a standard unlimited term contract. The main difference would be reflected in the title of the contract and the number of hours agreed (subject to the restrictions on hours detailed above). The contract(s) with any Secondary employer(s)will also differ significantly from the contract with the Primary employer in relation to the content as the parties may/may not agree to include benefits for the employee, e.g. end of service gratuity, annual leave etc.

What does it mean for employers?

MR31 of 2018 will allow for some more flexibility for both employers and employees. However, how the new system will work in practice is not clear and it will take some time for employers to adjust to this new system.

It will be interesting to see how certain parts of MR31 of 2018 will work in practice, particularly in relation to the financial benefits with the Secondary employer and the fact that the employee could potentially work for a competitor.

Before entering into a part-time contract with an employee, we would advise that Primary and Secondary employers gain legal advice on the contract and the practicalities of the arrangement.


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