UAE Labour Law: All Types of Leaves & Wages

UAE Labour Law : leaves & Wages

If you are working in the UAE, to know the labour laws of the country is crucial. It helps one clarify doubts regarding working hours, annual leave and several other job-related matters. The laws also spell out details about maternity leave, sick leave, employee records, safety standards, termination of employment and end of service gratuity payments.

Let’s take a look at some of the important features of the UAE Labour Law that cover these:

Working in the private sector

Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 also known as the Labour Law governs the labour rights of employees in the private sector.  The labour law handles a wide range of job-related matters. Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, known before as Ministry of Labour, is responsible for overseeing the employer-employee relations and maintaining labour rights for the private sector.

Here are some of the key provisions of the labour law:

Working hours

Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law identifies the normal working hours for the private sector as 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week.

The working hours may be increased to 9 hours a day for businesses, hotels and cafes after approval from MoHRE.

Government entities are not governed by the labour law and they operate for 7 hours daily.

Working for more than 7 hours a day is prohibited in arduous or unhealthy works and industries.

Normal working hours are reduced by two hours daily during the holy month of Ramadan.


An overtime is considered if the nature of job demands working beyond normal working hours and it will entitle the employee for a pay equal to normal working hours’ remuneration plus 25 per cent of that pay. It could increase to 50 per cent if overtime is done between 9 pm and 4 am.

Official leaves and vacations

Friday is the official weekend for all workers, except for daily wage workers. If circumstances require an employee to work overtime on that day, he/she will be entitled for regular working hours’ pay, plus an increase of not less than 50 per cent of that amount.

Compensation for working on official leaves

If an employee is required to work during holidays or leaves, he will be granted another rest day as well as an increase of 50 per cent on his basic wage for that day. If he could not be granted another day off, he is entitled to receive an additional 150 per cent on his basic wage for that day according to Article 81 of the Labour Law.

Public holidays

Employees are entitled for paid leave on the following public holidays. Here’s the complete list of public, private sector holidays after March 5th’s announcement:

Official holidays, and national and religious occasionsDate (Islamic calendar)
New Year24 Rabi Al-Aakhir 1440
Israa Wal Miraj27 Rajab 1440
Half of Shaban month15 Sha’ban 1440
Beginning of Ramadan1 Ramadan 1440
Bader Al-Kubra17 Ramadan 1440
Fateh Macca20 Ramadan 1440
Lailat Al Qader27 Ramadan 1440
29 and 30 Ramadan29 Ramadan 1440
Eid Al Fitr29 Ramadan-3 Shawwal 1440
Arafat (Haj) day9 Zul Hijjah 1440
Eid Al Adha10-12 Thul-Hijjah 1440
Hijri New Year1 Muharram 1441
Ashura Day10 Muharram 1441
Flag Day6 Rabi Al-Awwal 1441
Prophet’s Birthday12 Rabi Al-Awwal 1441
Commemoration Day3 Rabi Al-Aakhir 1441
National Day 48 5-6 Rabi Al-Aakhir 1441

Annual leave

Employees are entitled to an annual leave of:

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

    .    30 days, if they have completed one year of service.

How to calculate annual leave salary:

* 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.

* For the annual leave, the worker must receive his basic salary in addition to a housing allowance if such an allowance is stipulated in the contract.

* 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.

* Annual leaves may not be forwarded for more than once within two consecutive years.
The employer may determine the date of the commencement of the annual leave and may divide it into two or more periods. The division does not apply on leaves pertaining to working youth.

* The employer must pay the worker’s salary for annual leave before it is taken.
If the worker is dismissed or he resigns, he is entitled to his salary for any annual leave he did not use.

Sick leave

Employees are entitled to a sick leave of not more than 90 days per year subject to conditions stipulated in the law. They will receive full pay for the first 15 days, half pay for the next 30 days and no pay for the rest 45 days.

According to the UAE Labour Law, as amended, the employee must notify the employer about his sickness within maximum two days. The employer has the right to put the employee under a medical examination in order to verify the illness, and the authenticity of the employee’s leave.

Ineligibility for a paid sick leave:

The employee is 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 employee works for another employer during the sick leave.

Termination during sick leave: An employer may not dismiss an employee or give him a termination notice while the employee is on sick leave. If the employee uses all of his 90 days’ sick leave and was not able to report to work afterwards, the employer may terminate his services.

Resignation during sick leave: An employee can resign from work because of illness and before the expiry of the first 45 days of the sick leaves, if the physician from the respective health facility or the physician appointed by the employer consents to the cause of resignation. In such a case, the employer must pay to the resigned employee the wage that is due to him with regard to the remainder of the first 45 days.

Special leave

Employees may be granted a special leave without pay, which may not exceed 30 days for the performance of Haj once throughout his service. This is granted only once during his years of employment.

Employees are not entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period.

Maternity, childcare leave

Working females are entitled to 45 days of full pay for maternity leave provided that she has served continuously for at least one year. Maternity leave is paid with half pay if one year of service has yet to be completed. At the end of the maternity leave, the woman has the ability to extend her leave at an unpaid rate for a maximum period of 10 days.

For the first 18 months following delivery, female employees who nurse their child are granted two paid rest intervals per day, not exceeding 30 minutes, in order to complete this task.

Working fathers are not provided paternity leave under the law.

Haj and Umrah leaves

Haj leave:

Employees may be granted a special leave for the performance of Haj 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.

Umrah leave:

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.

Compassionate leave

The UAE Labour Law does not have any provisions which entitle the employee for a compassionate 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.

Reduction in working hours

Construction and industrial workers are not permitted to work during the hottest hours of the day during the summer. Any firm found to have staff working during the designated break time would be fined Dh5,000 per worker up to a maximum of Dh50,000.

Also, employees are entitled to work 2 hours less every day during the holy month of Ramadan.

Minimum wages

There is no minimum salary stipulated in the UAE Labour Law, however, it broadly mentions that salaries must cover basic needs of the employees.

Article 63 of the law mentions that the minimum wage and cost of living index is determined either in general or for a particular area or a particular profession by virtue of a decree and consent of the Cabinet.

Wages Protection System (WPS)

The Wages Protection System (WPS) is an important step to ensure and protect the rights of workers, and to establish trust between organisations and their employees. Under this system, salaries of employees will be transferred to their accounts in banks or financial institutions, which are authorised by Central Bank of the UAE to provide the service. For any concerns or complaints regarding the salary, employees can contact the MoHRE or lodge a complaint through eNetwasal.

End of service benefits

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