The Law: Working Hours During Ramadan
What are Ramadan Hours?
Office work hours during the Holy month of Ramadan are different, with an average of two hours reduced from the daily job schedule, but there may be exceptions.
Under UAE Federal Labour Law, the working hours of all employees shall be reduced by two hours per day during the Holy month of Ramadan. This means that employees should only work 6 hours per day (as the statutory maximum working hours are 8 hours per day).
Ramadan hours apply to all companies in the UAE proper, whether they are based onshore or in a free zone, as well as in the DIFC.
Is it applicable for non-Muslims also?
UAE Labour Law provides that working hours should be reduced by two hours per day and does not differentiate between fasting and non-fasting employees. Therefore, it is applicable to all employees irrespective of their religion or whether they are fasting or not.
Is it a violation if employees are forced to work extra hours?
The authorities do conduct checks from time to time to ensure that companies are compliant with the Labour Law and employees are working according to Ramadan hours. If a company is found in breach of the Labour Law, the authorities (MOHRE) have the discretion to penalize such a company. The penalty is at the discretion of the authorities and may be imposed on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, an employee who is forced to work extra hours has the right to complain to the MOHRE.
Will the salary be deducted for reduced working hours?
No, there should be no reduction in compensation as a result of a reduction in working hours. Employees should be paid at their normal rates as if they are working normal working hours.
There are different laws that govern employment issues for employees in the UAE proper, including free zones, as they are subject to UAE Federal Law. The same for employees in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which have their own labour laws separate from the rest of the UAE.
The UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 “The Labour Law” applies to all employees working in the UAE with a couple of exceptions, such as government employees, household servants etc.
Similarly, the DIFC Employment Law No. 4 of 2005 as amended (DIFC Employment Law) applies to employees working only within the DIFC.