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United Arab Emirates: Contracts of employment

Original and updating authors: Samir Kantaria, Suzanne Gingles and Neshwa Boukhari, Al Tamimi & Company
Consultant editor: Luke Tapp, Pinsent Masons


  • In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) generally, under the employment contract employers are under an implied duty to act fairly and reasonably, while in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) there are no implied duties on employers. (See General)
  • In the UAE generally and in the ADGM, employees may be appointed for a probationary period of a maximum of six months, while in the DIFC employment legislation does not specifically provide for probationary periods. (See Probationary periods)
  • In the UAE generally, legislation provides that employment contracts may be either for a fixed term or open ended, while in the DIFC and ADGM employment legislation does not distinguish between any types of contract. (See Types of contract)
  • Employment contracts must contain certain minimum terms. (See Written contract of employment)
  • The basic rule is that the parties to the employment contract must agree to any variation of the contract's terms (preferably in writing). (See Variation of contract)