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Overview of United Arab Emirates

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is a country on the Arabian peninsula. Before the discovery of oil here, its economy used to be based on fishing and a pearl industry. When the oil export started in the 1960s, the economy rapidly evolved until its GDP is now on par with those of leading Western nations. The UAE is comprised of 7 different emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Fujairah. Each emirate is ruled by a seperate royal family. The government form of the UAE is an federal presidential elected monarchy with the emir of Abu Dhabi as the country’s president and the emir of Dubai as the nation’s prime minister. The official language is arabic and the nation has a population of 9.6 million. The UAE has a very large share of expatriats with reports stating that less than 15% of the nation is comprised of Emiratis. The UAE is home to world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

The business culture in the UAE is a courtship of two very different cultures – the UAE being a country founded on the Islamic culture but being home to many people from around the world who are not. While considered a melting pot, the Islamic culture is still very prominent and one should be aware and respectful of the culture. When doing business in the UAE, be prepared to build a relationship first. People value relationships and will ask questions about your family. Decisions take time to be made, so be prepared to be patient.

Currency of United Arab Emirates

  • United Arab Emirates Dirham

Health Insurance and the Social Security system of the United Arab Emirates

Healthcare in the UAE is a government-funded healthcare system. It is regulated at both the Emirate and Federal level. The healthcare system is different in each emirate. Healthcare for Emirati nationals is available at a very low cost whereas expats have to pay a higher fee. Private healthcare is also available.

In Dubai and Abu Dhabi for example, healthcare coverage is required by law. In Abu Dhabi, your healthcare company has to cover you, your spouse and up to 3 children under the age of 18. In Dubai, healthcare companies only need to cover the employee but it is recommend by the government that the company also covers the family. In the other emirates, it is not mandatory for an employer to provide healthcare for its employees.

The public healthcare covers the following basic needs in all emirates:

  • emergencies

  • maternity services

  • basic health care services (general examinations, diagnostic and treatment services by general practitioners, specialists, and consultants; laboratory services; radiology diagnostic services; physiotherapy services; prescribed drugs and other medicines)

  • preventive services (essential vaccinations and immunizations for children and newborns)

Employer cost of United Arab Emirates

The cost for an employer to hire someone in Israel is a plus of 7.60% to the gross salary.

Salary and bonuses of United Arab Emirates

Employees who work on a wage are paid monthly.

After being employed for 1 year, employees are entitled to a so-called Recreation Payment. This is paid between July and September. The amount is determined by law every year and depends on the number of years of employment.

Public Holidays in United Arab Emirates

  • Islamic holidays are based on the moon and thus change from year to year.
  • January 1st – New Years Day
  • From last day of the Islamic month of Ramadan to 3 Shawwal (4 days) – id Al Fitr
  • From 9 to 12 Dhu al Hijjah (4 days) – Arafah day and Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice)
  • July/August – Hijri New Year (Islamic New Year)
  • October – Prophet Mohammed’s birthday:
  • December 1 – Commemoration Day
  • 2 and 3 December (2 days) – National Day

Working Hours in United Arab Emirates

Office hours are from 7:30am to 9:00pm, Sunday to Thursday. The work time is usually set-up as a “straight” or “split” shift. Straight shift companies open between 7:30am and 9am and remain open for 8 hours. Split shift companies begin work between 9:00 or 10:00am, have a break of 3-4 hours in between and end work at 8:00 or 9:00pm.

A regular work week is 48 hours. Work hours per week are reduced by 2 hours daily during Ramadan.

The overtime is paid at a rate of 125% the hourly rate.

Vacation in United Arab Emirates

In the UAE, employees are entitled to annual leave after they have completed their first 6 months of service. They are entitled 2 days per month after 6 months of service and after being in service for 1 year, they are entitled to 30 days of annual leave.

Sick Leave in United Arab Emirates

When an employee falls sick in the UAE, he/she must inform the employer within 48 hours. The employer is then entitled to request a medical report verifying the sickness. Only after the probation time is the employee entitled to 90 sick days a year. For the first 15 sick days, the salary is paid in full. For the next 30 days, the employee receives half of his salary and for the last 45 days he/she receives no pay.

Termination/Severance in United Arab Emirates

In the UAE one can terminate an employee for a “valid” reason (like poor performance) or summarily for gross misconduct. When terminating for a valid reason, a notice period of 30 days must be adhered to. If the employee has been in service for more than 1 year, he/she is entitled to severance pay. The employee receives 21 days of basic pay for every year he has been in service for the first 5 years and 30 days pay for each additional year. The severance pay may not exceed 2 years salary. An employee is not entitled to severance pay if he/she was terminated for gross misconduct.