The UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said it would allow the recruitment of part-time workers in the country.
The “part-time contract” allows a worker to be employed by more than one company at the same time after obtaining a permit from the ministry.
Professionals that work under this contract will be able to switch between companies without the consent of the original employer or any other employer, according to the announcement.
Minister Nasser Al Hamli said the new system would improve flexibility in the labor market, cut costs and and reduce companies’ dependence on workers from outside the country.
It is expected to particularly benefit small and medium enterprises and industries with seasonal or fluctuating demands where companies would previously have to recruit full-time staff even during slow periods.
The conditions of the contract state that the worker does not exceed eight hours a day or 48 hours a week under one employer and they must receive a weekly rest day.
In order to obtain a part-time contract the worker must hold a university degree and be in a specialised profession that requires scientific, technical and administrative skills and falls within the first and second skill levels.
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The contract will be subject to the same rules and penalties of a regular contract at its conclusion, renewal and termination whether it is for a fixed-term or non-specific.
The original employer must pay Dhs150-2,000 ($41-545) to bring a part-time worker in from outside or inside the UAE depending on their establishment category.
A second employer will then be required to pay a similar fee based on the number of hours the part-time employee spends working for them.
The original employer must provide the employee’s annual leave, end of service benefits and any other financial obligation in line with their number of actual working hours.
All other employers must also comply with UAE labour laws and may not demand that the worker undertakes more than the agreed number of hours, unless the employee consents.
Companies cannot prevent the part-time worker from being employed by a similar establishment.
The part-time contract can also only be converted into a regular contract after the part-time contract is terminated, according to the announcement.