Posted Apr 20, 2006
Article 65 & 66 of the UAE Labour law
“The maximum or normal working hours for adult employees shall be eight hours per day or forty eight hours per week. However, working hours may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trading, hotels, cafes, guarding, restaurants and other jobs that may be added by a decision from the Minister of Labour & Social Affairs. The daily working hours may also be reduced with regard to onerous or harmful jobs by a decision from the Minister of Labour & Social Affairs and the ordinary working hours shall be reduced by two hours during Ramadan.
The time which the employee spends on his way to and from the place of work shall not be included in the working hours.”
Also self-explanatory; sets the working week for all salaried employees - either 48 hours or 54 by definition. How the hours are accounted four are at the discretion of the employer, but are normally limited to 6 x 8 hours = 48 hours or 6 x 9 hours = 54 hours. Some employers have a more flexible approach to this and will allow a five day working week, but may require longer working hours to make up the total amount per week. Positions such as teacher, by definition have a limited working week. Read this in conjunction with Article 66.
“The daily working hours must be arranged so that no employees shall work for more than five consecutive hours without intervals for rest, meals and prayers. The total of such intervals must not be less than one hour and they shall not be included in the working hours.
In cases of factories where people work in successive day and night shifts or in the case of jobs where technical and economical reasons require work to continue non-stop, the Minister shall specify by a decision from him the manner in which the employees shall be granted intervals for rest, meals and prayers.”
Also see Article 65. The 8 or 9 hour day mentioned in Article 65 does not include the 1 hour break. For some people this will mean that you will spend 10 hours a day at your work! The same applies during Ramadan, a 1 hour break is mandatory, although some staff may require the time to be split over the duration of the day so that they may attend prayers.
Practically this varies. Multinational/ International companies may vary thier working hours to make the most of the "western week"; if not they loose out on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and not just Saturday and Sunday (normal western weekend).
During summer some local companies (especially trading companies) close between 12 and 4 pm, but will open until 10 pm or even midnight to make the best of passing trade. Malls will be open the whole day.
There is no hard and fast rule.... and admittedly it takes a while to get your head around it!