Type of Leaves in UAE
The issue of Leaves in the UAE is a never-ending debate. There are many doubts and clarifications that are still going around. In this post, I will try to respond to the popular questions about leaves in the UAE. But, UAE Labour Law has clear cut instructions as to what are the leaves that you are eligible for if you are employed in the UAE. MOL regularly tweaks the laws depending on the circumstances. Companies must follow leave regulations as per MOL rules. Anything that is over and above what UAE Labour Law prescribes is an added facility that the company provides to their employees. Employees usually look forward to the leaves and holidays.
What are the type of Leaves applicable in UAE?
There are many types of Leaves that are applicable under UAE Labour Law.
- Mandatory Leaves or public holidays
- Annual Leaves
- Sick Leaves
- Maternity Leaves
- Weekly off Day
- Hajj or Pilgrimage Leave
- Emergency Leave
- Paternity Leave/Parental leave
- Ramadan Timings
- compassionate leave (Beravement leave)
Public Holidays or Mandatory Leaves in UAE Labour Law:
Under Chapter 4 Section 2, UAE Labour Law prescribes mandatory leaves that the employees are entitled to. Meaning, every employee working in UAE are eligible for these leaves. Companies can not violate these rules by not giving these leaves to their employees:
- Hijri New Year’s Day – one day
- Gregorian New Year’s Day- one day
- Eid Al Fitr (end of Ramadan)- two days
- Eid Al Ada and Waqfa – three days
- Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday- one day
- Isra and Al Mi’raj- one day
- Martyr’s Day – one day
- National Day – one day
The above are the mandatory leaves that every employee is eligible under UAE Labour Law.
The number of days for Eid Al Fitr, Eid Al Ada and National day may vary according to the announcement from UAE government cabinet.
Annual Leaves in UAE Labour Law:
Every employee is entitled for Annual Leave in UAE Labour Law. You may read exhaustive article on Annual Leave.
How many days of annual leaves are you eligible for?
As per Article (75)- Each employee is entitled for annual leave after completing each year of service as mentioned below:
- Two days leave for every month if his service is more than six months and less than a year.
- 30 days annually if his service exceeds one year. At the end of the service the employee is entitled to an annual leave for the fraction of the last year he spent in service.
The calculation of the duration of annual leave will include official holidays specified by law or by agreement and any other leaves caused by sickness if they fall within the annual leave.
Note: UAE Labour Law mentions about Calendar days leave in this Article.
Who decides annual leaves of employees?
As per the Article (76)- The employer may at his discretion determine the date for commencement of annual leaves and, when necessary, he may decide to divide the leave in two parts at the most, except in cases of juveniles where vacation may not be divided in parts.
The employer can also keep the employee from getting whole or part of the annual leave based on work requirements. However, in this case, if the annual leave has not been carried over for the following year, then the employer must pay the employee their wage in addition to a leave allowance for the day they worked – which is equal to their basic wage.
Note: As an employee, you could decide when your annual leave starts. However, note that annual leaves are allowed after completion of 1 year at most companies. You could divide your Annual leave into 2 parts at most.
What if you fall sick during annual leave?
As per the Article (77)– The calculation of duration of annual leave shall include holidays specified by law or by agreement, or by any other day because of sickness if they fall within the leave and shall be deemed to be part thereof.
Note: If any official holidays or sickness occurs during the Annual Leave, then they are treated as part of Annual Leave.
Is salary paid in full during annual leave?
As per Article (78)- An employee shall be paid his basic wage plus the housing allowance, if applicable, and any other allowances which he receives in the normal working month.
If however, work circumstances require keeping the employee during whole or part of his annual leave and the leave has not been carried over for the following year, then the employer shall pay him his wage in addition to a leave allowance for the day he worked equal to his basic wage.
Note: Salary during Annual leave will include Basic salary and Housing allowance. Other allowances are also to be paid.
What about annual leaves not utilised? Do I get paid for them?
As per the Article 79- An employee is entitled to receive cash in lieu of annual leaves not availed by him, if he was dismissed or if he left the service , after the period of notice stipulated by law. Cash in lieu is calculated on the basis of pay received by the employee at the time of maturity of such leave.
In other words, the employee is entitled to payment for the annual leave period not taken if the employment is terminated either by way of resignation or termination. Such payment is calculated on the basis of the basic wage received at the time the leave was due.
Accrued leave pay is based on only basic pay it doesn’t includes housing, transport or other allowances.
When should I receive my annual leave salary?
As per the Article (80)– Annual leave salary shall be paid to the employee before taking his annual leave, the employee shall be paid his full wage, plus the wage of his leave days he deserves according to the provision of this law.
What if you have to work during annual leaves?
As per the ARTICLE (81)– If exigencies of work necessitate that the employee work on holidays or rest days against which he receives full or partial pay he shall be compensated in lieu thereof with increase in pay by 50% of his wage, but if he has not been compensated for the same with a leave, the employer shall pay him an increase to his basic wage equivalent to 150% of the days of work.
If the worker is requested to work during his total annual leave or a part of it and the leave is not carried forward to the next year, the employer must pay him his regular salary, in addition to a leave allowance, which is equal to his basic wage only.
In all cases, annual leaves may not be forwarded for more than once within two consecutive years.
What if you fall sick during annual leave?
As per the ARTICLE (82)– If the employee falls sick for reasons other than labour injury he must report his illness within a period of two days at most and the employer must take necessary measures having him medically checked up to ascertain illness.
As per the ARTICLE (83):
1. During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave;
2. If the employee spends over three months after completion of the probationary period, in the continuous service of employer, and falls sick during this period, he becomes entitled to a sick leave not more than 90 days either continuous or intermittent per each year or service, computed as follows:-
A. The first fifteen days with full pay.
B. The next thirty days, with half pay.
C. The subsequent period, without pay.
As per the ARTICLE (84)
Pay during sick leave shall not be made if sickness resulted from mis-behaviour of the employee such as consumption of alcohol or narcotics.
As per the ARTICLE (85)
The employer may terminate the services of an employee who fails to resume his duties at the end of such leave as stipulated in Article (82), (83) and (84) hereof, and in such case the employee shall be entitled to his gratuity in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
As per the ARTICLE (86)
If an employee resigns from service because of illness before the lapse of the first 45 days of the sick leave and the Government Medical Officer or the physician appointed by the employer justifies the causes of resignation, the employer must pay to the employee his remuneration due for the period remaining from the first 45 days referred to above.
As per the ARTICLE (87)
A special leave without pay may be granted for the performance of pilgrimage to the employee once through-out his service and shall not be counted among other leaves and may not exceed 30 days.
Note: This is applicable for Muslim employees once during their tenure at a company.
As per the ARTICLE (88)
During the annual leave or sick leave provided for here under, the employee may not work for another Employer; however, if the employer has established that the employee has done this, he shall have the right to terminate the service of employee without notice, and to deprive him of the leave pay due to him.
As per the ARTICLE (89)
Subject to the provisions herein contained, every employee who does not report to duty immediately after expiry of his vacation, he shall be deprived of his pay for the period of absence commencing from the day following to the date on which the leave has expired.
Note: If you delay rejoining your company after the Annual Leave, you will not be entitled for any pay for the days you are absent.
As per the ARTICLE (90)
Without prejudice to cases where the employer has the right to dismiss the employee without notice or gratuity as prescribed herein, the employer may not dismiss an employee or serve him with a notice of dismissal during his leave as is provided for in this Section.
Note: Companies have no right to dismiss an employee during their leave period.
I am sure these Articles in the UAE Labour Law provide you a detailed view of Leaves, Annual Leaves and your rights as an employee.
An employee cannot work for another company during the annual leave, if you do so an employer has the right to terminate your service without notice and withdraw him of the leave pay due to him
Every employee must report to work upon completion of annual leave. Upon failure to report to duty, the employer has the right to withdraw of his pay for the period of absence commencing from the day following to the date on which the leave has expired.
Except under Article 120 of the Act, the UAE Labour Law does not allow an employer to dismiss or issue termination warnings to employees when they are on annual leave.
Annual Leave ticket Law in UAE Labour Law:
Air ticket policy is very flexible in nature. It is a benefit in kind not in cash so it shouldn’t be en cashed. Annual Air ticket procedure is related to company policy and practice and it is not covered under UAE Labour Law. Note, providing annual air ticket is not required as per UAE Labour Law. This is an added bonus for employees if the company provides annual air ticket.
Are Weekends included in the Annual leave in UAE?
This depends on your company’s calculation of leaves. Every employee is provided with 2 working days per month as leaves. So annually this becomes 24 days. However, some companies mention that annual leave is 30 calendar days. In such cases, when calculating leaves, weekends will be included.
Some companies calculate annual leave with 1.83 working days per month as leaves, so annually this becomes 22 working days without considering weekends.
Are official holidays excluded from the calculation of annual leave?
No. The calculation of the annual leave period will include official holidays specified by law or by agreement, or leave because of sickness, that fall within the same period of annual leave.
However it is depends on company’s policy how the leaves have been calculated whether it is calendar days or working days.
Annual Leave During Probation Period:
During the probation period you are not entitled for any annual leave and it is entirely at the discretion of the management.
Annual Leave During Covid19 Situation
COVID19 Precautionary Measures for Annual Leave / Unpaid Leave
Most of the companies are facing unforeseen and unexpected business challenges due to the Covid 19 pandemic. At the same time ensuring the health and safety of their workforce adhering to the guidance provided by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (the Ministry) on Covid 19.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization’s decision regarding employment stability in private sector establishments mentioned 5 topics:
- Implementing the “remote” work system.
- Granting the employee a paid leave.
- Granting the employee unpaid leave (need employee consent)
- Reducing the employee’s wages temporarily (need employee consent)
- Permanent Salary reduction (need employee consent)
- Can the Employer ask employees to consume annual / paid/ unpaid leaves balances during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, Employer have the legal right to ask their employees to consume annual /paid leave balances (but not unpaid leave) only in the event remote work system does not match the nature of the company’s work.
This is one of the precautionary measures as per the Ministerial Resolution no 279 of 2020 Article (2) on Employment Stability in Private Sector during the Period of Application of Precautionary Measures to Curb the Spread of Covid19.
In this case, employers are well within their rights to ask employees to consume their annual leave / paid leave balances without seeking the employee’s consent.
It is also mentioned in the UAE Labour Law that an employer can defer annual leave only once in two consecutive years and at the same time pay the employee the annual leave salary.
However, in the event of employee does not have any available balance of annual leave, employer may request the employees to go for unpaid leave which must be agreed by both employer and employees with a permanent amendment of being necessarily registered with MOHRE / MOL.
Employers in the UAE cannot force employees to take unpaid leave or a reduction in their salaries without their consent.
The period for unpaid leave due to the precautionary measures, must be agreed by the employer and the employee. The contractual relationship between the employer and the employee remains for the duration of the leave. The employer is obliged (upon employee request) to book and pay for the cost of a return flight to the employee’s home country but only if such a flight is available. This obligation does not extend to covering the cost of flights for the employee’s family. If the employee is outside the country the employee’s residence visa will automatically renew even if the employee is not in the UAE at the time of expiry.
The leave period will end once the employee returns to the UAE and the precautionary measures period has otherwise ended. The unpaid period leave days are not included in the period of of service for the calculation of end of service gratuity.
“In the event that the employer does not agree with the employees to take the measures issued by the Ministry, then he may not take them. If the procedures are applied individually, without their consent, the employee may file a complaint with the Ministry.”
Annual Leave Encashment
How can I encash my unutilized leave and how will it be calculated?
UAE Labour Law explains in detail how the annual leaves and working hours are calculated as well as how should be paid in case of unutilized leaves. Annual leaves may not be forwarded for more than once within two consecutive years.
If your annual leaves are getting carried it is better you speak to your manager to use them.
An employer can defer annual leave only once in two consecutive years and at the same time pay the employee the annual leave wages or pay.
If a worker is on annual leave and is requested to work during his annual leave and leave is not carried forward next year, in this case employer is required to pay the worker regular salary in addition to a leave allowance which is equal to his basic wage only.
As per UAE Labour Law if employees completed six months but not one year in the organization they are entitled to an annual leave of two days per month and if they have completed one year of service, they are entitled to 30 days of service.
The calculation of the duration of annual leave will include official holidays specified by law or by agreement and any other leaves caused by sickness if they fall within the annual leave.
When the worker is on leave, he or she must receive his or her basic salary in addition to a housing allowance if such an allowance is stipulated in the employment contract.
When the employment contract is terminated or they stopped working after the period of notice period determined by law employees are entitled to payment of their wages for the annual leave that they have not taken. The payment will be calculated on the basis of the wages they received at the time when the leave was due. Some employers can also include allowance but this depends on a case-by-case and is solely the prerogative of the company.
According to Article (79) of the UAE Labour Law, an employee is entitled to receive cash in lieu of annual leave days not availed by him, if he was dismissed or if he left the service, after the period of notice stipulated by law.
Does my company have the right to deny me annual leave as a disciplinary measure against me?
According to UAE law, an employer cannot force an employee to forfeit annual leave and according to UAE Federal Law No 8 of 1980, as amended, Labour Law provides clear provisions for disciplinary actions by employers against their employees.
This is covered in detail in Chapter 6 of the UAE Labour Law, Article No 102 to Article No 112.
According to Article 102 of the UAE Labour Law, there are disciplinary rules that an employee should be aware of. However, Article 102 of the Labour Law states that disciplinary action may be taken by the employer or their representative in the following forms:
- a fine
- suspension from work with reduced pay for a period not exceeding ten days,
- forfeiture or deferment of periodic increment, in establishments where the system of increments is applicable. Forfeiture or deferment of promotion in establishments where the system of promotions is present.
- Dismissal from service, but reserving the right to end-of-service benefits. Dismissal from service together with forfeiture of all or part of the benefits, provided that the penalties shall not be imposed for reasons other than those specifically prescribed in Article No 120 of this law.
Sick Leave in UAE Labor Law:
(Click to Read Comprehensive Guide to Sick Leave)
Employees are entitled to Sick Leave as per UAE Labour Law. The first 15 days of the sick leaves are full pay leaves, the next 30 days of sick leaves are with half pay, the period after that is no pay sick leaves.
Maternity Leave as per UAE Labour Law:
UAE Labour Law allows for 45 days of Maternity Leaves. This means, if you are pregnant, you may take up to 45 days paid leaves before and after your delivery. For this to be applicable, you must have at least worked for 1 year with the company. If you have not completed one year of service with the company, you are eligible for half pay during your maternity leave. If you are still unable to join work after your Maternity Leave, you may take 100 days of leave without pay, as long as it is certified by the hospital and attested by Health Authority.
For detailed guide on Maternity Leave, read article on Maternity Leave as per UAE Labor Law.
Weekly Day off:
Friday is considered weekly day off for employees under UAE Labour Law. Most of the companies these days follow 2 day weekend on Friday and Saturday. Article 70 of the UAE Labour Law mentions about weekly day off and other provisions. Article 70 speaks about Weekly day off.
Hajj Leave, Umrah Leave or Pilgrimage Leave:
There is no provision for a paid Haj leaves in the UAE Labour Law. However, you can avail of a one-time unpaid leave for a maximum of 30 days if they are going for Haj. Article 87 of the UAE Labour Law states: “The worker shall be granted for the entire duration of his employment and for one time a special leave without pay for the pilgrimage. Such leave shall not be included in the other leaves and may not exceed thirty days.”
Emergency Leaves in UAE Labour Law:
As per the Federal Labour Law no. 8 for 1980, there is no emergency leave and the same is subject to the consent of the employer as well as the system applicable in the company. If an employee has an emergency back home or locally, I believe it will be deducted from their annual leave. But, it will depend on the company HR to allow emergency leaves on humanitarian basis.
Paternity Leave / Parental Leave: (updated 2021)
UAE’s private-sector has been granted paid paternity leave, after an amendment to the UAE Labour Law was approved by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE in August 2020.
Decree Law No. (6) of 2020 introduces a new Article (74) to the UAE Labor Law (Federal Law No. (8) of 1980) stating that private companies shall grant its [male] employees five days of paid parental leave, to be taken within six months of the child’s birth.
This August the UAE announced that it has become the first Arab country to grant paid paternity leave for the private sector.
In order to align public sector and private sector employee benefits and the equal treatment of male and female employees in respect of parental leave, Federal Decree Law No (6) of 2020 (the Decree) has introduced amendments to the UAE Labour Law No (8) of 1980 (the Labour Law), as follows:
A new Article 74 has been inserted in the Labour Law by the Decree which provides an entitlement of five paid days of parental leave to all employees (male and female) in the private sector, to be taken within six months of the birth of the child. An employee’s normal weekend off-day would not be included as part of the leave.
Article 74 does not affect the maternity leave rights of female employees under Article 30 of the Labour Law, and employees appear to be eligible to the rights under Article 74 immediately after commencement of their employment. From this decree private sector employees both male and female get the unique advantage to support their family role during the period of caring of their babies.
The new parental leave entitlement applies to both male and female employees working in the private sector in the UAE, apart from those working in the Dubai International Financial Centre or the Abu Dhabi Global Market (which are separate free zones with their own employment laws and regulations).”
This will promote the UAE’s position, which is based on humanitarian considerations and will greatly support the UAE’s efforts in the field of Emiratisation, as it will render the private sector more attractive to the highly qualified national staff, who will be more motivated to join it.
The step strengthens the position of the UAE in the field of gender balance and enhances it efforts to create a competitive model that supports the work environment in the private sector.
Previously the UAE did not require private sector companies to provide any kind of parental or paternity leave to male employees, although some companies included an allowance at their own discretion.
Previously male employees of the government were entitled to three days of paid paternity leave.
How many days is parental leave?
Five days of paid parental leave to be taken within six months of the child’s birth as per the Decree Law No. (6) of 2020 introduced a new Article (74) to the UAE Labor Law (Federal Law No. (8) of 1980) .
What is the difference between maternity leave and parental leave?
The statutory maternity leave entitlement is only available for female employees ” whereas the new parental leave benefit is available for both male and female employees.
The maternity leave is 45 days calendar days (including regular weekend days and any public holidays ) whereas parental leave entitlement is for 5 working days.
Can a woman add parental leave on top her maternity leave ?
“Yes, subject to agreement and acceptance between the employee and their employer.
How long you do need to have worked in the company to get the advantage of parental leave ?
Since this is a positive development and gives due recognition to the importance of both men and women to spend time with their new babies as such “There are no specific pre-requisites for the new parental leave entitlement, however it can only be availed up until the baby reaches six months of age.
Are parents required to submit any ‘proof’ in order to be able to receive their parental leave?
“There is no specific legal requirement for the employee to provide these types of documents in order to prove their eligibility, however it is up to the company discretion to implement their own internal protocols or requirements in order for an employee to avail of the benefit.”
Can the parental leave be taken in addition to the 100 sick days of unpaid leave that may be taken, if necessary, by a new mother in the UAE?
Yes, the new parental leave benefit is separate (and in addition) to the unpaid sick leave days which a female employee may be entitled to under the UAE Labour Law.
Compassionate Leave or Bereavement Leave:
The UAE Labour Law does not have any provisions which entitle the employee for a compassionate leave (Berevement leave) which is commonly given when an immediate family member (first-degree relative or second-degree relative) dies.
In such misfortunes, employees may request for leave to be deducted from their annual leave, or consider unpaid leave or any other arrangement, which the employer would agree to.
Most companies do offer paid leave, however, this completely at the discretion of the employer to determine such additional leave above and beyond emergency time off, will be offered to a bereaved employee and whether this will be paid and if not, the employee can request for the leave to be deducted from their annual leave, or consider unpaid leave or any other arrangement, which the employer would agree to.
I have written a detailed article on Ramadan timings as per UAE Labour Law. Please visit: Ramadan Timings as per UAE Law.
So here is a definitive guide to leaves as per UAE Labour Law. If you have any clarifications, please comment.