Protecting the Rights of Construction Workers in the UAE: An Overview of Labor Laws

The construction industry plays a vital role in the development and growth of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), employing a large portion of the country's foreign workforce. However, construction workers often face unique challenges, including long working hours, hazardous working conditions, and limited access to basic amenities. To ensure that the rights of construction workers are protected, the UAE has a set of labor laws and regulations that are specific to the construction industry.

Working hours and overtime pay:

In the construction industry, the standard working hours are Sunday through Thursday, with a maximum of nine hours per day and 54 hours per week. Employers are required to compensate employees for any overtime work, at a rate of not less than 150% of the employee's basic salary. Additionally, construction workers are entitled to take regular breaks during the day and must be provided with a suitable place to rest and eat their meals.

Accommodation and transportation:

Construction workers are entitled to safe and decent accommodation, which must meet minimum standards for health and safety. Employers must provide transportation for workers to and from the construction site, as well as for any other necessary trips. In addition, workers must be provided with access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.

Protection against hazardous working conditions:

Construction workers are often exposed to hazardous working conditions, including high altitudes, heavy machinery, and toxic substances. To protect workers from these dangers, the UAE has strict safety regulations in place, which employers are required to follow. Workers must also be provided with appropriate safety gear, such as hard hats and safety harnesses, to minimize the risk of injury.

End-of-service benefits and gratuity:

When a construction worker leaves their job, they are entitled to end-of-service benefits (EOSB) or gratuity. The amount of EOSB a worker is entitled to depends on the length of their service and their basic salary, with a maximum of two years' salary. Employers must calculate and pay EOSB to workers within 30 days of their departure from the company.

Protection against discrimination and harassment:

Construction workers in the UAE are protected against all forms of discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This includes discrimination based on gender, nationality, religion, and age. If a worker experiences discrimination or harassment, they have the right to file a complaint with the UAE Labor Ministry.


In conclusion, the UAE has a set of labor laws and regulations in place to protect the rights of construction workers. These laws ensure that workers are treated fairly and with respect, and that they are provided with safe and decent working conditions. By following these laws, employers can help create a positive work environment for their workers and contribute to the overall development of the construction industry in the UAE.

  • Author - Thahib Basheer
  • Thahib Basheer
    Executive Director