Employees in the UAE are legally entitled to a number of holidays per year, known as statutory leave entitlement or annual leave.
Here are six important things that employees need to know when it comes to this legal entitlement in the UAE.
#1 How many days of annual leave do I get?
Your contract should clearly mention this. If you are still unsure of the number of days you are entitled to, this is how it is calculated: the country’s Labour Law (Article 75) states that a worker shall be entitled, during every year of service, an annual leave of no less than the following periods:
1. Two days for each month should the period of service of the worker be at least six months and a maximum of one year.
2. Thirty days for each year should the period of service of the worker exceed one year.
#2 What if I am sacked?
Even if you are laid off by your company, you do have certain rights when it comes to your annual leave. If services of a worker are terminated, s/he will be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the year that s/he worked.
#3 Can my boss decide when I proceed on leave?
Yes, your boss can determine the date of the commencement of the annual leave and may divide it, if necessary, to two or more periods.
As per Article 76 of the Law, “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.”
However, the division provision shall not apply to the leave of youth (juveniles), clarifies UAE’s Ministry of Labour.
#4 What if I fall sick during annual leave?
Article 77 states (as amended by Federal Law no. 12, dated 29/10/1986) that holidays set by Law or by agreement, or any other leaves caused by illness should it occur during such holiday shall be included in the annual leave and deemed a part of it.
#5 Can my boss ask me to work during annual leave and what salary am I entitled to?
Yes, your boss can ask you to work during the annual leave period but there are rules in place to determine the limits of what an employer can ask you to do while on leave.
It also clearly states what salary is payable to you in case you are expected to work during your official leave period.
The country’s Labour Law (Article 78 – as amended by Federal Law no. 12 dated 29/10/1986) highlights that the worker shall receive a basic wage and a housing allowance, if any, for the days of the annual leave.
“Should the work circumstances require that the worker works during his total annual leave or a part thereof, and should the leave during which the worker worked is not carried forward to the next year, the employer must pay the worker the wage thereof, in addition to a leave allowance for the days of work, equal to his basic wage.
“In all cases, the worker may not be required to work during the annual leave for more than once within two consecutive years,” clarifies the Ministry.
Article 79 of the Law further adds that workers shall be entitled to receive any sums for accrued annual leave days should he be dismissed or should he leave work after the duly determined notice period.
Such payment shall be calculated on the basis of the wages paid to the worker at the time of such leave. Besides this, Article 80 states the employer shall pay to the employee, prior to the annual leave, the entire wage.
Should the work circumstances require that the worker works during holidays or leaves for which a complete or partial payment is paid, the worker shall be granted a substitute leave as well as an increase in the wage amounting to 50 per cent, as listed by Article 81.
If such a substitute leave is not granted, the employer shall pay the worker an additional sum to the basic salary amounting to 150 per cent with regards to the days of work.
#6 Can I work for another employer?
This is an absolute no. As amended by Federal Law no. 12 dated 29/10/1986, an employee, during annual leave, may not work for another employer.
If the employer does find out that the employee is guilty of this action, s/he shall be entitled to terminate the employment of the worker without notice and deprive him of his wage for the duration of the leave.