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Can an employer take disciplinary actions against employees under the new Labour law?

According to UAE legislation, being indiscipline at work or violating the conditions of your employment contract might result in your employer taking extreme action. Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations, which will take effect on February 2, 2022, will lay out precisely how businesses should deal with employee misconduct in an organized and equitable way.

Articles 39, 40, and 41 of the new legislation examine different facets of what a firm may do to an employee. While Article 39 discusses the systematic approach in which businesses might take actions ranging from mild to severe, Article 40 lays out the requirements for temporary employment suspension. Article 41 examines what the law says when an employee is accused of misconduct outside of the job.

What new Labour Law of UAE says about Disciplinary Actions against Employees?

Additionally, the New Law modifies certain disciplinary sanctions and procedures that an employer may employ against an employee who violates the New Law or the Executive Regulations. These include:

  1. A written notice drawing their attention to the breach,
  2. A written warning, deducting up to five days’ salary in a single month, suspending an employee from work for up to 14 days without pay,
  3. Withholding any salary increase for one year if the employer has a periodic salary increase policy in place. The employee is entitled to such increase under their contract or the company’s bylaws, withholding promotion for a maximum of two years, and
  4. Finally dismissing the employee.

Additionally, it appears as though the New Law eliminated the previous law’s notice requirements for internal investigations. It is yet to be determined following the publication of the Executive Regulations.

There are still some areas of uncertainty regarding applying specific provisions to various work models. The Executive Regulations are expected to guide applying any of the New Law’s sanctions.

You may want to know: Some key features of new UAE labour law: what you must know?

Legislative Provisions Relating to Disciplinary Actions under New UAE Labour Law

Here is a comprehensive look at what the legislation says:

Article (39): Disciplinary Sanctions

  1. The employer, or his agent, may impose any of the following punishments on any worker who breaches the requirements of this Decree-Law, its executive rules, and implementing resolutions:
  2. Written letter to seek attention.
  3. Notice in writing (warning).
  4. Monthly wage deduction of up to five days. Suspension from employment for no more than 14 days and withholding wages throughout the suspension.
  5. Denial of periodic increments for up to one year, when establishments have implemented periodic increment systems and the employee is entitled to them under the terms of the employment contract or the establishment bylaws.
  6. Denial of promotion for a maximum of two years in institutions with a promotion system in place.
  7. Termination of employment with payment of severance compensation.
  8. The Executive Regulations must provide the criteria, restrictions, and processes required for the imposition of any of the punishments mentioned in paragraph (1) above, as well as the applicable grievance mechanism.

You should read: New UAE Labour Law: Termination rules during probation period revised

Temporary Suspension from Work: Article 40

Suspension of the employee for a disciplinary inquiry 

The employer believes that suspending the employee for a maximum of 30 days is necessary to conduct a disciplinary inquiry; the employer may do so. The employee must be suspended and compensated at half their regular pay rate throughout the suspension term. If the inquiry is closed, the violation is not proved, or the worker is given a warning, he is entitled to receive his wages throughout the suspension time.

  1. If a worker is suspected in case of offence against Life, property, honor etc.

Suppose a worker is suspected of an offence against Life, property, honor, or honesty. In that case, the employer may temporarily suspend him from work, awaiting a final judgment by the relevant judicial institution, and his salary will be suspended throughout the suspension term.

  1. In case of a worker is acquitted for Non-committal of Crime.

An official decision not to put the worker on trial or if the worker is found not guilty of any crime or the investigation is closed because there wasn’t enough evidence to go to trial. Then the worker can go back to work and get paid back all of his suspended wages.

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Article (41): Some rules for imposing disciplinary sanctions

  1. A worker can’t be punished for doing something outside of work unless it’s connected to their job.
  2. Article (39), which talks about discipline, says that only one punishment can be given for one crime.

HHS Lawyers & Legal Consultants comprises a group of the most significant labour lawyers in Dubai and labour lawyers from Abu Dhabi and other Emirates. We provide a comprehensive range of services, including UAE labour law legal guidance, to help you become a more courteous and responsible employer. Employers must be informed of the employment regulations and effectively comply with them, critical for us. As a result, as UAE labour law experts, we guarantee that you are well-informed on all aspects of this and give you labour law guidance in Dubai.

To learn more about the New UAE Labour Law, contact us today.


Hazim Darwish

Hazim Darwish, is a Senior Partner of HHS Lawyers in UAE. Practicing law for almost a decade, he has in-depth knowledge on UAE legislation with particular expertise on legal drafting, contract drafting, labor disputes, family law, and regulatory compliance for business organizations. Hazim Darwish also provides counsel on legal rights and obligations in the UAE to clients, including individuals and businesses subject to investigation or prosecution under Criminal Law by major regulators.