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United Arab Emirates: Termination of employment

Original and updating author: Samir Kantaria, Al Tamimi & Company

Consultant editor: Luke Tapp, Pinsent Masons

See the legal services provided by the authors/consultant editors of XpertHR International > United Arab Emirates, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • There are various ways of terminating a contract of employment, which must be for a fixed term in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), although open-ended contracts are permitted in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)). (See General)
  • In the UAE generally, where the employer or employee terminates an 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)
  • In the UAE, an employer may terminate the employment of an employee for a "legitimate reason" although in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) an employee can generally be dismissed for any reason. (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 their employment with notice at any time and without notice in certain circumstances. (See Resignation)
  • From 2 February 2022, employment legislation in the UAE recognises the concept of 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 them at the end of employment with an "end-of-service certificate" free of charge. (See Certificate of employment)
  • In the UAE generally, an employee may be able to bring a claim in a labour court if they believe that their termination is unlawful, as defined in the UAE Federal Labour Law, while in the DIFC and the ADGM there is no concept of unfair dismissal under employment legislation. (See Contesting dismissals)