UAE Retirement Age Flexibility: Extending Careers Beyond 60 Years and Promoting Longevity

Understanding the legal framework and ministerial resolutions that allow employees to extend their careers beyond traditional retirement age

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 8, 2024, 18:00:37



In the UAE, the standard retirement age for employees is set at 60 years. However, there are provisions and flexibility that allow employees to continue working beyond this age under certain conditions.

According to UAE labour law, the official retirement age is 60 years. This applies to both Emiratis and expatriates working in the country.

However, the UAE government has implemented changes to provide more flexibility. Employees can extend their working years up to the age of 65, provided they obtain the necessary approvals from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 and Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 is a cornerstone of the UAE's labour law framework, providing comprehensive regulations on employment relations. This law, along with subsequent ministerial resolutions, outlines various aspects of employment, including the retirement age.

Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989

Ministerial Resolution No. 52 of 1989 provides specific guidelines related to the recruitment and employment of non-national employees.

Age Limit for Employment: This resolution initially set the maximum age for expatriate employees at 60 years. However, it allows for exceptions if the employee has rare expertise and their role is deemed economically important.

Extension Beyond 60 Years: Since 2011, the MoHRE has been accepting requests for work permits for employees aged between 60 and 65 years. This extension is contingent upon approval, which considers the employee's qualifications and the nature of their job.

Flexibility and Recent Updates

While the primary law and resolution provide a framework, recent updates and government policies have introduced more flexibility:

Retirement Age Flexibility: MoHRE's acceptance of work permit requests for employees beyond 60 years up to 65 years allows experienced professionals to continue contributing to the workforce. This is particularly relevant for roles requiring specialised skills.

Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021: This newer legislation, along with its executive regulations, continues to uphold the principles of the 1980 law but introduces modern provisions to address evolving employment needs and practices.

These laws and resolutions collectively aim to balance the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, while adapting to the economic and demographic changes in the UAE.

Free Zones and Other Exceptions

It is important to note that free zones in the UAE may have different regulations regarding retirement age. These zones have the autonomy to set their own policies, which might allow for different retirement ages or procedures for extending employment beyond the standard age.

Benefits of Continuing Employment

Continuing to work beyond the age of 60 can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Employees can maintain their income and remain active in their professional fields, while employers can retain experienced and skilled workers who contribute significantly to their business operations.


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