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Dubai Airport passport control. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News archives

Annual leave is a hot topic that we hear about regularly. Many people have questions about their rights to paid leave. The labour law in the country lays out annual leave provisions and rights of employees in Articles 74 to 81 of Federal Law 8 of 1980.

Here is everything you need to know:

1. What are an employee's leave entitlements?

For every year of service, an employee is entitled to an annual leave based on length of service. Employees are entitled to a minimum of two days paid leave for every month, if their period of emplyment is more than six months but less than a year. If the employment period is more than one year, the employee is entitled to 30 days off annually. This is a minimum requirement and could include public holidays and or weekends that fall within the said time limit. 

2. Which official holidays are employees entitled to?

An employee is entitled to an official holiday with full wage for the following occasions:

New Year: (1 January 2020) [1]

Eid Al Fitr: (29 Ramadan-3 Shawwal) [4]

Arafat Day: (9 Dhu al Hijjah) [1]

Eid Al Adha: (10-12 Dhu al Hijjah) [3]

Hijri New Year: (23 August) [1]

Commemoration Day: (1 December) [1]

National Day: (2-3 December) [1]

3. Are official holidays excluded from the calculation of annual leave?

No. The calculation of the annual leave period will include official holidays specified by law or by agreement, or leave because of sickness, that fall within the same period of annual leave.

4. What would be payable to the employee during his annual leave?

The employees shall be paid at least their basic wage plus the housing allowance, if applicable.

5. Who determines when the leave starts and for how long?

The employer has the right to determine the beginning of the annual leave, and when necessary, has the right to divide the leave into two sections.

The employer can also keep the employee from getting whole or part of the annual leave based on work requirements. However, in this case, if the annual leave has not been carried over for the following year, then the employer must pay the employee their wage in addition to a leave allowance for the day they worked - which is equal to their basic wage.

In addition to this, the employer may only defer the annual leave once in two consecutive years and at the same time pay the employee the annual leave wages. So, no employee shall be required to work during their annual leave more than once during two consecutive years.

6. At which point should annual leave wages be paid?

Before taking their annual leave, employees shall be paid their full wage, plus the wage of the leave days they deserve according to the provision of this law.

7. Is the employee entitled to payment in lieu of leave if his services are terminated?

The employees are entitled to payment of their wages for leave if the employment is terminated, or they stopped working after the period of notice determined by law. The employee will be entitled to receive wages for the annual leave that they have not taken.

This payment will be calculated on the basis of the wages they received at the time when the leave was due.

Disclaimer: For quick resolution to individual queries, please contact the MOHRE directly. While we take utmost care in staying updated on all the provisions of the law, Gulf News is not responsible for any misinterpretations, changes or amendments herein. Have a story to share? You can address your experiences, queries and concerns relating to this guide to