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Monday, December 4, 2023

UAE: New leave Rules for all employees

UAE leave rules explained, find out your annual, maternity, Hajj and study entitlements and more

UAE employees are looking forward to a possible four-day weekend break for Eid Al Fitr holidays in April.

With Ramadan beginning on Thursday, March 23, Eid Al Fitr is expected to fall on April 20 or 21, based on the sighting of the moon. Combining the dates of Eid with the weekend, UAE residents could likely get four days off on April 20, 21, 22 and 23.

UAE leave allowances

The country’s employment law recognises various types of leave for private sector employees.

Workers in the UAE are entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave and leave to complete Hajj.

They are not entitled to compassionate leave and leave to complete Umrah, but allowances may be made by individual employers.

Annual leave in the UAE

Annual leave is granted in accordance with the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations in the Private Sector, the “UAE Labour Law”.

By law, workers are entitled to a fully paid annual leave of:

  • 30 days, if they have completed one year of service
  • 2 days per month, if they have completed six months of service, but not one year.

If the employee’s service is ended before he used his annual leave balance, he will get leave for the fraction of the last year of service.

Part-time employees are entitled to annual leave according to the actual working hours they spent at work, as specified in the employment contract, and in accordance with the Executive Regulations of the Labour Law.

Sick leave in the UAE

An employee is entitled to a sick leave of not more than 90 days per year, only after the end of probationary period.

The 90 days’ sick leave can be continuous or intermittent, and the salary is paid as follows:

  • full pay for the first 15 days
  • half pay for the next 30 days
  • no pay for the rest 45 days

However, during the probationary period, the employee may get a sick leave without pay, subject to the approval of the employer and based on a medical report issued by the medical entity that stipulates the necessity of the leave.

These provisions are subject to conditions and do not apply to sick leave because of occupational illness.

Employees are ineligible for a paid sick leave in the following situations:

  • During the probation period
  • If the illness directly arises from the misconduct of the worker, such as the consumption of alcohol or narcotics
  • If the worker violated the safety instructions in accordance with the effective legislations in the UAE, and the rules set out in the firm’s regulations, which the employee was informed of
UAE compassionate leave
Employees in the UAE are entitled to a paid bereavement leave of five days in case of death of spouse

Compassionate leave

Employees are entitled to a paid bereavement leave of five days in case of death of spouse and three days in case of the death of a parent, child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.

Maternity leave

A female worker is entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days, out of which:

  • 45 days will be fully-paid leave
  • 15 days will be half-paid leave.

A female worker may apply for her maternity leave up to 30 days prior to the expected date of delivery.

In addition to the basic maternity leave above, she may take additional 45 without pay, if she has an illness as a result of pregnancy or childbirth, and is unable to resume work.

The illness must be proved via a medical certificate issued from the respective medical authority. These leave days can be consecutive or intermittent.

If the baby is sick or suffers from a disability, the female worker may take additional leave of 30 days fully-paid. This leave can be extended for additional 30 days without pay. The illness or the disability of the child must be proved via a medical certificate issued from the respective medical authority.

After the female worker resumes work, she is entitled to one or two additional breaks each day for nursing her child. The duration of the two breaks must not exceed one hour.

The woman is entitled to such breaks for 6 months following the date of delivery. Such breaks are fully paid for.

Parental leave

Employees of the private sector are entitled to a parental leave of five working days from the day of the birth of their child to six months.

The parental leave is a paid leave that can be applied for by both mother and father of the baby.

It was introduced after the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the then President of the UAE, approved the amendments to the Labour Law in August 2020.

The UAE is the first Arab country to grant parental leave to employees in the private sector.

Official leave and public holidays

As per Article 21 of the UAE labour Law, employees of the private sector are entitled to at least, one day of paid rest per week as specified in the employment contract or work regulations of the company.

The company may increase the number of weekly rest days. Additionally, employees are entitled to a paid leave on public holidays.

If an employee is required to work during holidays or leaves, he will be compensated with another rest day or be paid for that day, a wage as he would be paid on a normal day plus an addition of at least 50 per cent on their basic wage.

Hajj and Umrah leave

Employees may be granted a special leave for the performance of Hajj under the provisions that the leave:

  • Is given without pay
  • May not exceed 30 days
  • Is granted only once during the employment duration with the company.

The UAE Labour Law does not have any provisions which entitle the employee for Umrah leave.

If the employee requests a Umrah leave, it is up to the employer to consent and deduct from the employee’s annual leave or consider unpaid leave.

Study leave

Employees who have completed at least two years of service with an employer, are entitled to a paid leave of 10 days per year to sit for examinations.

An employee, who is studying in one of the UAE’s certified educational institutions is entitled to a paid leave of 10 days per year to sit for examinations.

To apply for this leave, one must have completed at least two years of service with the employer.

Sabbatical leave

As per UAE Labour Law, Emiratis working in the private sector are entitled to a paid sabbatical leave (extended break from work) to perform national service.

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