UAE: Are Employees Entitled to Ramadan's Working Hours While Working Remotely?

Published April 30th, 2020 - 10:30 GMT
UAE: Are Employees Entitled to Ramadan's Working Hours While Working Remotely?
an employee working remotely is required to work during working hours decided by the employer. (Shutterstock)
Highlights
It may be noted that during Ramadan, regular working hours of employees shall be reduced by two hours.

Question: My employer is demanding that I work for the regular eight hours during this Ramadan. Is a company permitted to do that? Do inspections take place to ensure compliance of working hours? Are employees working remotely entitled to a reduction in their working hours during the month of Ramadan?
 
Answer:
 
We assume that you are employed by an employer based in the mainland of UAE and therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law') and subsequent ministerial resolutions, issued in furtherance of the Employment Law, may also be applicable, in addition to the Employment Law.
 

In response to your queries, it may be noted that during the month of Ramadan, regular working hours of employees shall be reduced by two hours. This is in accordance with Article 65 of the Employment Law, which states:

"Article 65:

Furthermore, the daily number of working hours may be reduced for strenuous or harmful works and such by virtue of a decision from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The ordinary working hours shall be reduced by two hours during Ramadan. ."

Therefore, pursuant to the aforesaid provision, an employer may not be permitted to make its employees work for regular working hours during the month of Ramadan. In furtherance, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (the MoHRE) may conduct inspections of workplaces where an employer is suspected of violating the reduced working hours during the holy month.

Further, in regard to the working hours of employees working remotely, the provisions stipulated under Ministerial Resolution No. (281) of 2020 regulating the remote work in private establishments during the period of application of precautionary measures to curb the spread of novel coronavirus (the 'Ministerial Resolution') and the temporary guide appended therein, which stipulates the obligations of an employer and its employees, shall be applicable. Under the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, an employer is required to decide whether the working hours are to be set hours or flexible hours. This is in accordance with Clause 3 under Obligations of Employer stipulated in the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, which states:

"Second: Obligations of Employer

3. Put in place mechanisms for the management of remote working, such as determining working hours and whether set hours or flexible hours are to apply; ."
 

In continuance, under the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, an employee working remotely is required to work during working hours decided by the employer. This is in accordance with Clause 5 under Obligations of Employee stipulated in the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, which states:
 

"Third: Obligations of Employee
 
5. Maintain the confidentiality of information and documents and perform work during working hours; ."
 
Based on the aforementioned obligations stipulated under the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, an employer is required to decide upon the working hours of the employee and the employee is required to abide by the employer's decision. However, it may be pertinent to note that the Employment Law shall continue to be applicable upon employers and employees working in accordance with the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution. This is in accordance with Governing Laws and Legislation stipulated in the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, which states:
 

"Fourth: Governing Laws and Legislation
 
All persons and entities working in accordance with this Guide shall be governed by the Employment Law and the relevant legislation promulgated in this concern."
 
In accordance with the aforementioned provisions, as the Employment Law continues to be applicable on employers and employees working in accordance with the temporary guide annexed to the Ministerial Resolution, the reduction of regular working hours by two hours during the month of Ramadan as stipulated under Article 65 of the Employment Law may also apply to employees working remotely. However, if an employee is required to work according to their regular working hours during the month of Ramadan, such work shall be considered as overtime work and the employee may be entitled to receive an extra payment for working overtime. Furthermore, the employee shall only be permitted to work for two extra working hours during Ramadan.
 
In view of the foregoing, during Ramadan, regular working hours shall be reduced by two hours. If your employer demands you to work according to the regular working hours, you may work for two extra working hours which shall be considered as overtime work. Further, you may request your employer to remunerate you for working overtime. In the event your employer refuses to remunerate you for working overtime, you may file a complaint against your employer with the MoHRE concerning the non-payment of remuneration for working overtime during the month of Ramadan.


Know the law

An employer is required to decide upon the working hours of the employee and the employee is required to abide by the employer's decision


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