We’ve seen the new UAE Labour Law (Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 as amended Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022) in force for a number of months now. So It’s vital that you become familiar with the changes and include them in your employee handbook.


Disciplinary Sanctions

The new UAE Labour Law devotes a section to disciplinary procedures. Some organisations simply copy-paste their headquarters’ approach, ignoring the local requirements. Here are the disciplinary sanctions employers permitted in the UAE. They are generally applied in this frequency and need to be justified for the offence:

  • Warnings
  • Fines for not more than 5 days’ wages
  • Suspension with decreased wage for not more than 14 days
  • Deprivation of allowance for a maximum of 1 year
  • Deprivation of promotion for a maximum of 2 years
  • Termination of service without prejudice to the payment of end of service benefits of service.


Disciplinary Procedure

When doling out discipline, the law leans heavily into creating an environment of trust and fairness to employees. Before penalising an employee, you must follow this procedure:

  • Inform the employee in writing of the offence
  • Invite the employee to a meeting to hear their defence
  • Hold a meeting where the employee is informed of the allegations
  • Give the employee the opportunity to tell their side of the story
  • Investigate the defence
  • Document the meeting (in writing) and maintain the notes on the employee’s file
  • Provide the employee with a written confirmation of the sanctions (type, amount and reasons) against them after the investigation has been conducted
  • Outline and enforce the penalty if the offence is repeated

Recent changes in labour laws focused on transparency, consistency and equity. When you have clearly outlined policies and procedures, you not only give clarity to employees about expected behaviours and consequences. The policies and procedures also keep the playing field level. Everyone knows the expectations.

Approach disciplinary matters with calmness and objectivity. Avoid arguments. Keep things confidential out of respect for everyone involved. And handle things as promptly as possible. Not recognising the urgency may cost you time, money and reputation.

Remember that it’s not a choice to comply with disciplinary procedures outlined in the new labour law.

At OLAM Group, we help small to mid-sized companies with their ever-changing HR needs. Are you looking for expert guidance or need to update your employee handbook? Please reach out to us today.