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Probation Period in UAE Labor Law: Termination, Resignation, Notices


Shini Ramith

December 29, 2023 · 8 min read
Probation Period in UAE Labor Law: Termination, Resignation, Notices - TalentPoint

Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE

Landing a new job does not guarantee permanent employment. Most UAE employers incorporate a 'Probation Period' into contracts, a crucial phase for both parties. So, do you want to know the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE

Employment contracts in the UAE encompass vital terms. Understanding the probation period is paramount for compliance with UAE laws, ensuring a smooth onboarding process. So, this will interest you if you have seen articles like "Best work from home jobs for women in UAE 2024". Go ahead!

Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE

Securing a new job does not guarantee permanent employment. Employers in the UAE commonly integrate a 'Probation Period' into contracts. Understanding its implications is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure compliance with UAE laws. So, the probation period, at the employment onset, allows employers to assess a new hire's fit for the role.  

This is essential if you want to know the Top 11 Job Sites in UAE. For this reason, this trial phase precedes the official employment contract, providing a chance for evaluation.

A Trial Run Scenario

Imagine hiring an employee in June with a four-month probation period. During this phase, the employee is not officially hired, allowing the employer to assess suitability. If all goes well, the official contract commences after the probation period concludes. As a result, in the ever-evolving landscape of global laws, the UAE labor law underwent recent changes in 2022. These alterations impacted the duration of the probation period and termination procedures.

Rules governing the probation period in the UAE are mandated by the Ministry of Labour. It is imperative for both employers and employees to comprehend these rules thoroughly before entering into new contracts. This understanding ensures protection and awareness of rights under UAE labor law.

Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE: Navigating Rules

Learn about the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE:

Rule #1: Six Months Maximum

In the UAE, organizations can indeed implement a probation period, and the Ministry of Labor has set a maximum limit of six months. However, it is important to note that some companies might choose to enforce shorter durations. Nonetheless, it is strictly prohibited by law to extend the probation period of an employee beyond the stipulated six months.

A shorter probation period could be advantageous, giving both the employer and the employee a quicker assessment of compatibility. Moreover, it allows for a more expedited transition to the official employment contract if everything goes well. This rule is pivotal for both parties involved, ensuring a fair evaluation period and compliance with legal standards.

Rule #2: Termination Entitlement

One notable aspect of the UAE labor law during the probation period is an employer's entitlement to terminate an employee without notice if the employee is deemed unqualified for the job position. As a result, this could lead to an abrupt end to the employment relationship without the need for providing severance pay or compensation benefits.

This provision gives employers the flexibility to assess a new hire's suitability for the role without being bound by lengthy notice periods. However, it places an additional responsibility on employers to thoroughly evaluate their new hires during this probationary phase.

Rule #3: Employee's Resignation Right

On the flip side, employees also have a crucial right during the probation period—the right to resign at any point. Certainly, this adds a layer of flexibility for employees who might realize that the job is not the right fit for them. It is imperative, though, for employees to pay close attention to the contract terms.

Some companies might include clauses that require employees to serve a notice period even during the probation period. In other words, employees need to be aware of the specifics outlined in their contracts, as the notice duration could vary. This emphasizes the importance of carefully reviewing employment contracts.

Rule #4: No Paid Sick Leaves

An important stipulation during the probation period is that employees are not entitled to any paid sick leaves. This means that if an employee faces genuine health issues, it is crucial to communicate promptly with the employer about the situation. This lack of paid sick leave adds an additional layer of consideration for employees during this phase.

The absence of paid sick leave during probation emphasizes the need for employees to maintain open communication with employers about health concerns. Consequently, it ensures that both parties are on the same page regarding expectations and considerations during the initial employment period. For this reason, this is essential for the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE!

Rule #5: Gratuity Eligibility

A significant aspect related to the probation period is gratuity eligibility. According to the ministry of labor, an employee becomes entitled to gratuity only after completing a year of service at the company. However, it is important to note that leaving during the probation period denies an employee the right to receive gratuity.

On a positive note, if a company hires an individual as a permanent employee after the probation period and the employee completes an entire year of service, they are entitled to end-of-service remuneration. This includes the probation period, marking a critical distinction in the employee's entitlements based on the completion of a year of service.

Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE: Contract Types Unveiled

This is essential for the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE:

  • Limited vs Unlimited Contracts. Limited contracts dictate specific start and end dates, lasting a maximum of two years. You can terminate it with notice or let it expire naturally. Unlimited contracts, more flexible, lack a set end date but can be terminated mutually or with notice. This distinction between contracts is foundational in the UAE.

  • Probation Period Duration. Article 37 of the Federal Labour Law asserts a six-month cap on the official probation period. A shorter period is common. Most importantly, any extension beyond six months violates the law, exposing employers to potential compensation claims.

  • Termination Dynamics During Probation. Article 120, UAE Labour Law: recent changes demand a 14-day notice for probationary terminations. This enhances transparency and allows employees adequate time for adjustment. For employees intending to leave the UAE, 14 days' notice is mandatory, while those moving to a new job within the UAE require 30 days' notice. These rules ensure fair treatment for both parties involved.

  • Exceptional Termination Scenarios. Article No. 121 of the Labour Law outlines exceptional termination scenarios. Employees can leave without notice if the employer breaches obligations or if an assault occurs. These exceptions safeguard employee rights and well-being. In addition, you need to know the Average Salary in Dubai UAE 2023-2024!

Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE: Navigating Resignation Scenarios

Learn more about the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE:

  • Resignation and Compensation. If an employee decides to end their contract within the probation period, the employer may be entitled to compensation. Notably, if the resignation is for another job, a more extended notice period and compensation for incurred costs may apply.

  • Returning to the UAE Within Three Months. Also, employees returning to the UAE within three months to start new employment may face compensation obligations to the previous employer. It is crucial to be aware of these obligations to ensure a smooth transition.

  • Employer-Borne Costs. Employers cannot request employees to cover costs already incurred. This regulation ensures fairness and protects employees from unexpected financial burdens.

  • Time Off During Probation. Sick days and paid time off do not apply during the probation period. Communication between employers and employees is crucial to navigate illness and absenteeism effectively.

  • Gratuity and Probation. Employees leaving during the probation period are not entitled to gratuity. Upon completing a year of service, permanent employees qualify for end-of-service remuneration, including the probation period.

Understanding Employment Contracts in the UAE

Managing employee contracts is integral to effective employee management. Utilizing an HR software solution, streamlines processes and ensures compliance with UAE laws. So, reducing friction and cultivating trust lead to a more productive work environment. Investing in employee well-being pays off in organizational success and satisfaction.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Trial Period in the UAE

Discover more information about the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE


The advantages are:

  • Comprehensive Onboarding Assessment. Employers conduct thorough evaluations, ensuring seamless integration into company culture. Consequently, this aids effective onboarding, reducing the chances of misalignment in expectations.

  • Flexibility for Strategic Workforce Planning. Employers benefit from flexibility to assess workforce needs during the probation period. Moreover, it allows strategic adjustments based on evolving business requirements.

  • Targeted Performance Improvement. The probation period serves as an opportunity for targeted feedback and skill enhancement. So, this contributes to continuous performance improvement, aligning employees with organizational goals.

  • Streamlined Termination Process. If an employee is not the right fit, termination during the probation period is less legally and financially complex. Therefore, this streamlined process provides a quick and efficient exit strategy for both parties.


Learn more about the disadvantages:

  • Job Security Concerns. Employees may experience uncertainty regarding job security during the probation period. Also, this uncertainty can adversely impact morale, affecting overall job satisfaction.

  • Short-Term Performance Focus. Some employees may prioritize short-term performance to secure a permanent position. For this reason, this focus on immediate goals may hinder long-term commitment to the organization.

  • Administrative Overhead Challenges. The hiring and evaluation processes during the probation period involve administrative challenges. So, these challenges encompass paperwork, evaluations, and potential rehiring procedures.

  • Potential for Misuse and Job Insecurity. In some instances, employers might misuse the probation period by offering continuous short-term contracts. Consequently, this misuse could exploit employees and create a sense of job insecurity, impacting overall well-being.

  • Employee Development Expectations. Employees may expect comprehensive development opportunities during the probation period. Also, managing these expectations is crucial for fostering a positive and growth-oriented work environment.

  • Legal Compliance and Fair Treatment. Employers must ensure legal compliance and fair treatment throughout the probation period. This includes adherence to labor laws and the provision of equitable opportunities for all employees.

In conclusion, you know the Ultimate Guide to Probation Period in the UAE. So, this comprehensive guide illuminates the intricacies of the probation period in the UAE. For inquiries about employment contracts and benefits management, contact The Talent Point today. 

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