The UAE contains a number of free zones, which are subject to special rules in areas such as customs, taxation and foreign company ownership. Qatar has one free zone, which was set up primarily to attract foreign investment. In the UAE, employment relationships are generally governed by the UAE Federal Labour Law, while some free zones also have their own rules relating to employment matters, which are supplementary to, or on some issues substitute for, the provisions of the federal legislation. The exception is the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which has its own DIFC Employment Law. Qatar has two frameworks of employment law, one governing companies licensed by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and the one applying to other companies and organisations.
Five other interesting features of UAE and Qatari employment law are set out below:
- In the UAE and Qatar generally, there is an “Emiratisation” and a “Qatarisation” policy to increase the proportion of UAE and Qatari nationals in the workforce. Emiratisation and Qatarisation rules do not currently apply in the UAE free zones (including the DIFC) and in the QFC.
- Muslim employees are entitled to take unpaid pilgrimage leave to perform the Islamic Haj pilgrimage
- Unlike in the UAE and Qatar generally, there are specific laws on equal opportunities/non-discrimination in employment in the DIFC and in the QFC
- In the UAE (including the DIFC) the law does not specifically permit or recognise unions, and they do not exist in practice. The position is the same in the QFC. However, in Qatar generally, legislation permits the formation and operation of trade unions, but this applies only to Qatari nationals.
- As in the rest of the UAE and in Qatar generally, employment legislation in the DIFC and in the QFC does not deal specifically with redundancy.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at