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Ramadan in UAE : Labour Law & Your Legal Rights

Last updated on September 2nd, 2019 at 01:27 pm

This article discuss about Ramadan in UAE – Fasting in this sacred month, Labour Law and Your legal right as an employee including the working hours.

About Ramadan

Ramadan is one of the most important periods in the Muslim year. It is a time of spiritual awakening, self-evaluation and remembrance of Allah, which Muslims observe through fasting and prayer.

Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset to commemorate the revelation of the Holy Quran and as an expression of their deep reverence to Allah and Prophet Mohammed. Traditionally, Muslims break their fast at Iftar after the evening prayers.


Month of Ramadan teaches Muslims self-discipline, humility and giving. Charity is a significant part of Ramadan and Muslims are expected to help the needy. Ramadan ends with Eid celebrations, which last for two or three days.

What are the working hours during Ramadan?

In accordance with the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, the working hours of all companies and establishments will be reduced from 8 hours to 6 hours, without affecting the salaries of employees. There is often confusion over whether only Muslims benefit from the reduced working hours rule or if its applicability extends to non-Muslims as well. The relevant provisions of the Labour Law make it clear that the reduced working hour’s provision is not based on nationality or religion-specific. In contrast, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is subject to its own legal regime, entitles only those employees who are “observing the fast” to benefit from the reduced working hours rule during Ramadan

Can a Dubai company ask employees to work for normal hours?

This is a serious violation against the labour law in Dubai and company that break this law will be slapped with administrative punishments. Company cannot even ask their employees to work extra hours from home, because any work done at home should count towards the employee’s total hours. Often authorities conduct check from time to time to ensure that are the companies are abiding by Labour Law.

Recommended behavior during Ramadan

Employers should, if they have not already done so, implement a comprehensive Ramadan policy, setting out clearly not only the relevant provisions of the Labour Law, but the recommended and expected standards of behaviour and conduct during Ramadan so as to minimise the risks of causing offense to those observing the fast.

General rules to observe during Ramadan

Everybody is prohibited from eating, drinking or smoking in public during the fasting hours. Failure to such compliance could attract a month’s jail term or fine.

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