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United Arab Emirates: Termination of employment

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


  • There are various ways of terminating an open-ended contract of employment. (See General)
  • In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) generally, where the employer or employee terminates an open-ended or fixed-term employment contract with notice, there is a general minimum and maximum statutory notice period, while in the free zones the employer and employee are free to agree a notice period of any length in the employment contract or to dispense completely with notice, if so agreed. (See Notice periods)
  • Unlike in the rest of the UAE, legislation in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) does not provide that dismissal with notice must not be "arbitrary". (See Dismissal with notice)
  • An employer may dismiss an employee summarily without notice in certain circumstances. (See Summary dismissal)
  • Employees have dismissal protection in certain circumstances. (See Dismissal protection)
  • An employee is free to terminate his or her employment with notice at any time. (See Resignation)
  • Employment legislation does not deal specifically with redundancy. (See Redundancy)
  • Eligible employees have a statutory entitlement to an "end-of-service gratuity" payment on termination of employment under certain conditions. (See Severance payments)
  • There is no statutory retirement age in the UAE generally, the DIFC or the ADGM. (See Retirement age)
  • In the UAE generally, the employer must, at the employee's request, provide him or her at the end of employment with an "end-of-service certificate" free of charge. (See Certificate of employment)
  • In the UAE generally, if an employee believes that he or she has been "arbitrarily" dismissed with notice or summarily dismissed other than for a reason permitted by statute, the employee may bring a claim in a labour court for arbitrary dismissal, while in the DIFC and the ADGM there is no concept of unfair dismissal under employment legislation. (See Contesting dismissals)