How to calculate overtime in UAE

Detailed guide on how to calculate overtime in UAE labor laws
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When it comes to overtime pay, both employees and employers need to understand the rules and calculations to ensure fair compensation for hours worked beyond the regular schedule. The main topic of this article is to dissect the intricacies of calculating overtime pay and to provide a clear guide for accurate compensation according to labor laws.

The Basics of Overtime Pay

Overtime pay is additional compensation owed to employees who work in excess of the standard hours established by their employment agreement or by applicable labor laws. In most countries, the typical workweek is set at 40 hours, and any time worked beyond that is considered “overtime.” Overtime pay rates usually exceed regular hourly wages, often by a rate of one and a half times (1.5x) the standard pay—also known as “time and a half.”

To grasp the concept of calculating overtime, it’s essential to define what counts as “overtime hours.” Generally, unless an employee is exempt due to their specific job duties or salary level, all hours worked in excess of 40 in a week are considered overtime. However, some states and regions may have distinct regulations, so always check with local labor laws.

Example calculation of overtime pay under UAE employment regulations

Understanding Eligibility for Overtime Pay

Before diving into calculations, let’s clarify who is eligible for overtime. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the standard for overtime eligibility in the United States, but other countries have their own regulations. Here’s a simplified list to determine if an employee qualifies for overtime:

  1. Non-exempt status: Typically employees must be classified as non-exempt from the FLSA to receive overtime.
  2. Hours worked: Overtime applies only to hours worked past the standard threshold, usually 40 hours per week.

The complexity of overtime calculations begins with deciphering an employee’s eligibility, which is grounded in their employment classification. For employers, it is critical to correctly categorize employees to comply with labor laws and avoid costly legal repercussions.

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculating Overtime Pay

Calculating overtime pay hinges upon a clear understanding of what constitutes overtime hours and the appropriate pay rate for those hours. Here’s a simple table to help you visualize the process:

StepDescriptionExample Calculation
1. Identify the standard workweek hours.Determine the threshold for overtime in your jurisdiction.40 hours is standard in most regions.
2. Calculate the regular hourly wage.Divide the weekly salary by the number of standard hours worked.$800/40 hours = $20 per hour.
3. Establish the overtime rate.Typically, this is 1.5 times the regular hourly rate.1.5 x $20 = $30 per hour.
4. Tally overtime hours worked.Count all hours worked exceeding the standard threshold.48 hours worked – 40 hours = 8 hours.
5. Compute the overtime compensation amount.Multiply overtime hours by the overtime rate.8 hours x $30 = $240 of overtime pay.

Using the example above, if an employee works 48 hours in a week, they are entitled to their regular wage plus additional pay for the 8 hours of overtime. Overtime calculations are necessary to ensure employees receive fair compensation for their extra efforts.

When it comes to overtime, the adage “time is money” becomes quite literal. Employees should monitor their hours to validate that they’re being paid correctly for overtime, while employers must meticulously track time to ensure they are compensating their staff appropriately and complying with regulations.

Overtime calculations often go beyond multiplying hours by hourly rates, as they may include considerations like holiday pay or other forms of differential pay. Therefore, it’s vital for employers to understand the nuances of calculating overtime pay to preempt disputes and maintain a transparent and just workplace.

Step-by-step process for determining overtime wages in UAE

Special Considerations in Overtime Calculations

While the primary method for calculating overtime pay may seem straightforward, certain situations require additional attention. For example, some employees might receive bonuses or commission, which could affect the overall calculation for their regular rate of pay, hence impacting the overtime rate. Additionally, if an employee works on holidays or weekends, this could potentially attract a higher overtime rate, depending on company policy or collective bargaining agreements.

It is also worth noting that some jobs may have alternative overtime schedules, as permitted by labor laws. For instance, hospital workers may have an 80-hour biweekly threshold for overtime as opposed to the standard 40-hour weekly threshold. To avoid miscalculations:

  1. Factor in all forms of compensation: Include bonuses, shift differentials, and commissions to calculate the regular rate of pay accurately.
  2. Adhere to specific industry or company policies: Be aware of any special overtime provisions applicable to certain professions or within certain organizations.

Ensuring that overtime pay is accurately calculated in these special scenarios is crucial, as it respects the rights of employees and the integrity of the employer.

Common Mistakes in Overtime Calculations and How to Avoid Them

Overtime calculations, though ostensibly simple, are fraught with potential errors that could cost both the employee and employer significantly. Common blunders include failing to include all hours worked when tallying overtime hours, miscalculating the regular rate of pay by leaving out certain types of compensation, or misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime.

To steer clear of these costly errors:

  1. Keep detailed records of all hours worked, including entry and exit times, breaks, and any off-the-clock labor.
  2. Regularly audit payroll practices to ensure they are aligned with current laws and encompass all aspects of the employee’s compensation package.

By maintaining meticulous records and conducting audits, both employers and employees can help ensure accurate calculations and payments, enhancing trust and reducing the likelihood of legal disputes.

"  Understanding the legal requirements for Overtime calculation in UAE


In conclusion, understanding and calculating overtime pay is a vital aspect of employment that affects both the employee’s earnings and the employer’s payroll budget. Clarity regarding overtime regulations promotes a fair and equitable work environment. Both parties must stay informed and diligent in their record-keeping and calculations to ensure compliance with labor laws and to safeguard against any potential issues concerning overtime compensation.


1. What is considered overtime in the UAE?

Overtime in the UAE is any work done beyond the regular working hours as defined by the labor laws of the country.

2. How are overtime hours calculated?

Overtime hours are typically calculated based on the excess hours worked beyond the standard daily or weekly working hours, often at a premium rate.

3. What are the standard working hours in the UAE?

The standard working hours in the UAE are usually 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week for most industries, though this may vary depending on the sector and the specific company policies.

4. What is the overtime rate in the UAE?

The overtime rate in the UAE is typically 1.25 to 1.5 times the regular hourly wage, as mandated by the labor laws or employment contracts.

5. Are there any restrictions on overtime in the UAE?

Yes, there may be restrictions on the number of overtime hours an employee can work in a day or week to ensure their well-being and compliance with labor regulations.