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Is it Legal for an Employer to Assign Work that Contravenes an Employee’s Employment Contract?

Employment relations in the UAE are governed under the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the “Employment Law”) and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations (the “Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022”). This article seeks to discuss the legality of assignment of other works by the employer not mentioned under an employment contract by stating legal provisions of the employment law.

Legal Provision under Employment Law regarding the assignment of other works by the employer not mentioned under an employment contract

The Employment Law prevents employers from assigning employees to work other than the tasks specified in a labour contract; they are only permitted to do so under certain circumstances and only temporarily. If the employee consents, the Employer may assign the Employee to work that is different from what was specified in the employment contract. A response to the offer email stipulating that such an agreement must be written and come from the Employee’s work email address is sufficient.

  1. Assignment of other works by the employer

In the UAE, an employer is not allowed to assign work that is unrelated to the position specified in the employment contract. However, the Employer has the right to allocate other duties in case of an emergency or to address serious problems.

It follows Article 12 (1) of the Employment Law, which reads as follows: “An employee may not be assigned another work that is substantially different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, unless such an assignment is necessary or aims to avoid an accident or rectify the consequences thereof, provided that the assignment is temporary as specified by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.”

  1. Assignment of other works if Employee consents in writing

If the worker consents in writing, this may be done. It conforms to Article 12(2) of the Employment Law, which reads in part: “An employer may, in instances other than those specified in paragraph (1) above, entrust the employee with a job that is not agreed upon in the employment contract, with the employee’s written approval.”

  1. Financial expenses are to be borne by the Employer

The Employer is responsible for covering all associated expenditures, such as the worker’s relocation and living expenses, if the work not specified in the employment contract necessitates changing the worker’s location.

  1. The time limit for assignment of other Works

For a period of beyond 90 days, an employer cannot assign other work. Following Article 13(1) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, the worker may be assigned to alternative work that is fundamentally different from the contractually agreed work as an exception deemed necessary or to prevent an accident or to repair damage caused by the Employee. The Employee may only be assigned to such a job for 90 days each year.

  1. Right to Resign without serving Notice period

Further, if the job performed differs from that specified in the employment contract, the Employee may resign without having to provide a notice period. It follows Employment Law Article 45(4), which states:

“The employee may quit work without notice and reserve all of his entitlements at the end of the service if the employer entrusts the employee with a work that is substantially different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, except in cases stated in Article 12 hereof.”

You should know: Labour ban under new UAE Labour law 2022: what you must know?

What options are available in case of violation of the Law?

(1) An employee thus may ask the Employer to assign the work suitable for your designation per the legal rules.

(2) Alternately, an employee might ask the company to change the terms of the present employment agreement. An employee may not be required to stay on the job if the Employer disagrees. According to Employment Law under Article 14(1), “An Employer may not use any measures capable of compelling or forcing the Employee, or threatening him with any punishment, to work for him, or forcing him to perform a job or supply a service against his will”.

(3) Furthermore, as stated in Article 45(4) of the Employment Law, employees may also consider quitting their job without giving notice.

(4) However, it would be wise for the Employee to have documentation proving that the allocated tasks did not correspond to their assignment in the employment contract.

(5) An employee might complain to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization about their Employer’s alleged violation of your contract’s conditions based on this.

Our Employment lawyers in Dubai often provide legal counsel on all facets of UAE labour law. We help clients with day-to-day workplace relationship concerns, such as termination, redundancy, disciplinary actions, and grievance processes. We assist with creating contract documentation, negotiating settlement terms following the end of an employment relationship, and providing advice on contentious disputes.

The most skilled employment lawyers in Dubai make up our team, which collaborates closely with our dispute resolution and corporate/commercial teams to offer support and assistance if an employment matter becomes contentious or in situations where there is an employment component to a transaction or deal.


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.