Table of Contents

Annual and Sick Leaves, Maternity Leave, Hajj Leave, Holidays

  1. Annual Leaves
  2. Sick Leaves
  3. Maternity Leave
  4. Hajj Leave
  5. Official Holidays
  6. Emergency Leave

Annual Leaves

The employee's annual leave is two days for every month if her service is more than six months and less than a year.

If the employee's period of service exceeds one year, she will be entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave for each year of service. This is in addition to public holidays, maternity leave for women and sick leave.

An employee is paid during her annual leave her basic wage plus the housing allowance, if applicable. The employee should be paid her full outstanding wages before taking her annual leave, plus the leave wage.

The employer has the right to determine and fix a date wherein the employee will be allowed to take her annual leave and may decide, if required, to divide the leave into two parts.

Where the circumstances of work require the employee to work during the whole or part of her annual leave and the leave is not carried forward to the following year, the employer should pay the employee her wage in addition to a leave allowance for the days she worked equal to her basic wage.

In all cases, no employee should be required to work during her annual leave more than once during two consecutive years, and the employer may only defer the annual leave once in two consecutive years.

The calculation of the duration of annual leave includes holidays specified by law or by agreement, or any day taken due to sickness, if they fall within the leave period and are deemed to be part thereof.

The employee is entitled to payment of her wages for the annual leave period not taken if her employment is terminated, or she resigns after serving the period of notice determined by law. Such payment is calculated on basis of the basic wage received at the time the leave was due including any housing or accommodation allowance where applicable. Some employers also include transportation allowance in the calculation, although it is not compulsory.

However, an employee may only claim remuneration for the annual leave which has not been taken for the last two years of employment at the rate of the wages paid during that time. Any leave days not taken prior to that period are therefore time barred and the employee is precluded from claiming remuneration against them.

Except in cases wherein the employer is entitled to dismiss a worker without notice or compensation, it is strictly forbidden under the provisions of the UAE Labor Law to dismiss an employee or serve her a notice of termination of the employment contract while she is on leave.

Back to Top

Sick Leaves

The employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period. However, after a period of three months continuous service following the probation period, the employee is entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days whether continuous or not in respect of every year of service. However, the employee will only be entitled to leave wages during the first 45 days of sickness, as follows:

(1) Full wage for the first 15 days.
(2) Half wage for the next 30 days.
(3) Any following period will be without wage.

The employee must report to the employer any injuries or illnesses preventing her from working within a maximum period of two days, and should provide evidence of her illness warranting sick leave by an official medical certificate.

If the employee's illness is directly caused by her misconduct, she is not entitled to any wages during the sick leave.

The employee may resign from employment during the sick leave period and before the completion of 45 days specified by law, provided the reason for resignation is approved by a government medical officer or a physician designated by the employer. In this situation, the employer must pay the employee all the wages he is entitled to, until the end of the 45 days period.

It is strictly forbidden under the provisions of the UAE Labor Law to dismiss an employee or serve her a notice of termination of the employment contract while she is on a sick leave.

However, the employer is entitled to terminate the employment contract if the employee has exhausted her full sick leave period of 90 days and is unable to resume work. In such cases, the employee will be entitled to her end of service benefits in accordance with the Law.

Back to Top

Maternity Leave

A working woman who has served continuously for not less than one year is entitled to 45 days maternity leave with full pay which includes the period before and after the delivery . The maternity leave is granted with half pay if the woman has not completed one year of service.

At the end of the maternity leave, a working woman has the right to extend her maternity leave for a maximum period of l00 days without pay. This unpaid leave can be either continuous or interrupted, if her absence is due to an illness which prevents her from resuming her work. The illness must be confirmed by a certified government physician licensed by the competent health authority.

Maternity leave is not deducted from any other periods of leave that a female employee is entitled to.

During the 18 months following delivery, a female employee who nurses her child is entitled to two daily intervals which do not exceed half an hour each for the purpose of nursing her child. These additional intervals are considered part of her working hours and no deduction in wages can be made.

It should be noted that it is forbidden under Article (90) of the UAE Labor Law to dismiss an employee or serve her a notice of termination of the employment contract while she is on a maternity leave.

In fact Article (90) provides that:

“Without prejudice to cases in which an employer is entitled to dismiss a worker without notice or without the indemnity provided for in this Law, an employer shall not dismiss a worker or serve a notice of dismissal on him while the worker is on leave provided for in this chapter”

The chapter referred to in article (90) here above is in fact chapter 2 of part 4 of the Labor Law in respect of working hours and leaves.

However, although the maternity leave is provided for in a different chapter, specifically in article (30) of chapter 3 of part 2 of the Labor Law in respect of employment of workers, young persons and women, it is our opinion that article (90) has set forth a general principle of the Law which prohibits dismissing an employee or serving her a notice of dismissal during her leave provided for in the Labor Law itself, notwithstanding whether it is a sick leave, maternity leave or annual vacation leave.

Back to Top

Hajj Leave

The employer must give the employee once during her employment a special leave without pay to go for Hajj which should not exceed 30 days. This period is not part of the employee's annual leave or any other leave which she is entitled to.

Back to Top

Official Holidays

Article (74) of the UAE Labour Law provides that:

“Each worker shall be entitled to an official holiday with full pay on the following occasions:

(a)        New Year's Day (Hegira): one day ;

(b)        New Year's Day (Christian): one day ;

(c)        Feast of Lesser Bairam : two day ;

(d)        Feast of Greater Bairam and Eve of Greater Bairam : three days;

(e)        Birthday of the Prophet: one day ;

(f)         Nocturnal Journey and Ascension of the Prophet: one day;

[g]        National Day : one day.”

Accordingly, the above occasions are official holidays for employees working in the private sector, during which they are entitled to full pay.

The holidays listed above are applicable to all employees whether they are working in the public or private sectors. However, public sector employees may be granted additional days off to those specified on the above occasions which are announced from time to time by the Cabinet Ministers.
The date on which official holidays fall depend on the Ministry's announcements which are published in the local newspapers shortly before they occur.

Back to Top

Emergency Leave

The UAE Labor Law does not provide for emergency leave to private sector workers. Unless the company's by-laws grant emergency leave, the employee will not be entitled to it. If the company's by-laws do not allow this, the leave can be deducted from the annual leave, or considered unpaid leave.

In all cases, the leave must be approved by the employer, otherwise the employer can dismiss the employee on the basis of his absence from work without permission, according to Article 120 of the Labor Law.

Back to Top