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UAE Labour Law: 8 things you need to know about sick leave

Here's what the UAE Labour Law lays down about your sick leave entitlements and rights

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We all have doubts about sick leave and if our employer is sticking by the rules when it comes to days that you aren't doing so well. Here's what the UAE Labour Law (Section 9) lays down.


Who is entitled to sick leave?

If the employee spends more than three months after the end of the probation period in the continuous service of the employer and contracts an illness, he shall be entitled to a sick leave not exceeding 90 consecutive or non-consecutive days for every year of service, calculated as follows:

a - The first fifteen days with full pay.

b - The following thirty days with half-pay.

c - Any following period without pay.


Who is not entitled to sick leave?

  1. The employee shall not be entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period.
  2. The employee shall not be entitled to the wage during the sick leave should the illness directly arise from the ill behaviour of the employee such as the consumption of alcohol or narcotics.

Can the employee resign during sick or annual leave?

Yes, if the employee resigns by reason of illness before the expiry of the first forty five days of the sick leaves, and the governmental physician or the physician appointed by the employer consents to the cause of resignation. The employer must pay all wages or salary due to the employee up to the forty five days referred to above.


Can the employer terminate or send notice of termination during sick/annual leave?

No. Without prejudice to the cases in which the employer is entitled to dismiss the employee (mentioned below) without notice or gratuity agreed upon, the employer may not dismiss the employee or give him a notice thereof while the employee is on sick leave


When can the employer terminate the employee?

The employer may terminate the service of the employee subsequent to the exhaustion of sick leaves that he or she is entitled to, or if he or she is not able to report back to his work. In such cases, the employee shall be entitled to the end-of-service gratuity in accordance with the provisions of law.


Is Haj (pilgrimage) leave included in sick/annual leave?

No. The employee shall be granted during his employment a one-time special leave without pay for the pilgrimage. Such leave shall not be included in the other leaves and may not exceed thirty days.


Employee must not work for another employer during sick/annual leave

During annual or sick leave, the employee may not work for another employer. Should the original employer establish that the employee has done so, he shall be entitled to terminate the employment of the employee without notice and to withhold salary for the duration of the leave.


What happens if the employee does not report back?

Subject to the provisions set forth by law, every employee who does not report back directly to his or her job upon the end of the leave shall be deprived of salary for the period of absence from the last day of approved leave. He or she could also be terminated, or banned if proof of absconding (absent without reporting information for more than a week) is given.

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