Ramadan Working Hours in the UAE

Ramadan Working Hours in the UAE


Within the UAE, there are different laws  governing  employment issues for employees in the UAE (including free zones as they are subject to UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980) and for employees in the Dubai International Financial Centre (‘DIFC’). All employment matters for employees based within the DIFC are governed by DIFC Employment Law No. 4 of 2005 (as amended by the Employment Amendment Law, DIFC Law No. 3 of 2012).

This Article only addresses the Ramadan hours for employees based in the UAE and therefore the Ramadan hours for employees based in the DIFC are outside the scope of this Article. 

What are the work hours during Ramadan?

Pursuant to Article 65 of the UAE Federal Law, the usual maximum working hours for employees are 8 (eight) hours per day. During Ramadan, these are to be reduced to 6 (six) hours per day.

Can employees choose when to take their reduced hours – e.g. coming in later instead of finishing later?

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 employees who aren’t fasting entitled to reduced 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.

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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