It’s a topic that comes up year after year – should you get reduced hours during Ramadan? Many people aren’t clear on the rules and whether they are different for Muslim and non-Muslim employees, so to help make things easy, we asked Aqsa Khan, an employment law specialist and legal consultant in the UAE and UK from James Berry & Associates, to answer some of the most common questions.
What are the working hours during Ramadan?
According to Aqsa, this falls under Article 65 of the UAE Federal Law. “The usual maximum working hours for employees is eight hours per day. During Ramadan, these are to be reduced to six hours per day.”
Can employees choose when to take their reduced hours?
“The Federal Law does not prescribe when an employee should take their reduced hours. However, most employers will have their own policies regarding this aspect. Therefore, some employers may specifically allow their employees to begin work late and to finish later in the day.”
Are non-Muslim employees entitled to Ramadan hours?
“The UAE Federal Law does not differentiate between fasting and non-fasting employees. Therefore, the reduced hours are applicable to both fasting and non-fasting employees. However, the DIFC Employment Law is different in relation to this aspect.”
Are any industries or areas exempt from Ramadan hours?
“The Ramadan hours are applicable to all employees and sectors that are governed by the Federal Law.” Aqsa does note that the rules are different in DIFC, which falls under Article Law No. 4 of 2005 (as amended by the Employment Amendment Law, DIFC Law No. 3 of 2012).
During Ramadan, can employees choose to work from home?
“The Federal Law does not mention anything specifically on this. However, employers cannot ask their employees to work extra hours from home, as any such hours will count towards the employee’s total hours of work.”
Can an employer reduce pay due to shortened hours?
“The employer is not entitled to reduce the employee’s pay for the shortened hours. The employer must pay the employee their normal pay, irrespective of the reduced hours.”
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