File image: Families travelling during the winter vacations, at Dubai International Airport, Terminal 3, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News Archives

The UAE Labour Law has various provisions laid out clearly about employee rights and responsibilities. Following a guide published on annual leave provisions, readers reached out to us with their questions on the topic.

Here are those questions, answered:

Please understand that this is just a guide, based on limited information about your situation. For all immediate queries and final solutions, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) is your best contact point. Though we take utmost care in giving you relevant answers, we are not the legal authority on this subject.


In case I'm not permitted to avail my annual leave, should I be compensated? What's my recourse for leave days that go unavailed? (Especially if 80 per cent of the allotted leave goes unutilised on an annual basis)

According to the UAE Labour Law, an employer can defer annual leave only once in two consecutive years and at the same time pay the employee the annual leave wages/pay.

If the exigencies of work necessitate that the employee works during his annual leave in whole or in part, and the period of leave during which he or she has worked, has not been carried forward to the next year – the employer should pay his or her wage/salary in addition to cash in lieu for working days, calculated on basic wage.

So, you can ask for payment in lieu for leaves deferred. In addition to this – legally – your annual leave shouldn’t be deferred more than once in two years.

Please contact MOHRE for a final resolution.

Gratuity Pay

Sir I work [in] a company in Dubai come in my country [due to an] emergency but [because of] some serious reasons I was not able to go back. Tell me about my gratuity – my job period 2 years 5 months.

Your gratuity pay depends on various factors including your contract type, period of employment, company policies and basic wages. Please use our Gratuity Guide for more details.

Eid holidays

If a person goes on 15 days annual leave and his leave expired on 3rd June and he rejoin on 8th June 2019 – in mid 3,4,5,6,7 is Eid holidays – so should we pay salary of Eid holidays as our office is closed due to Eid days? We are unable to get rejoining paper.

According to the UAE Labour Law, the employer can decide the start/end date of an employee annual leave before approving it. Public holidays and weekends falling within the approved annual leave are included in the calculation of number of days. If these do not fall within the dates of annual leave, public holidays are treated as fully-paid days off and are not counted in annual leave. Calculation of leave pay is based on basic wage and if it falls outside the purview of the law, company policy applies. Please contact MOHRE for a final resolution.

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Public holidays deducted

If an employee is supposed to resume on a date which is a public holiday, can the HR department deduct those public holidays from his/her accrued leaves? The employees do have a habit of altering their leaves so the HR Department considers his/her date of resuming which in the above case is 9th of June. For e.g. Employee took 30 days local leave .He was supposed to join on 3rd of June 2019 .Since it was a public holiday he was only able to join on the 9th of June so will his annual leaves will be calculated as 36 days or 30 days.

According to the UAE Labour Law, public holidays and weekends are included in the calculation of number of days of annual leave taken if they fall during the leave period. If these do not fall within the dates of annual leave, public holidays are treated as fully-paid days off and are not counted in annual leave. Please contact MOHRE for a final resolution.

Leave balance

I am writing to you, because I just want to clarify regarding the annual leave payment on the final settlement. For example, I worked for 9 years in the company, and if I resign and still have 77 days balance on my annual leave, should I receive 77 days annual leave payment or maximum 60 days annual leave only?

This depends on your company policy and the UAE Labour Law. The law states that employees should get cash in lieu of leaves unavailed in case the employee is dismissed or he/she resigns. Cash in lieu of leave is calculated based on pay received at the time of maturity of leave.

So, depending on your work agreement and leave entitlement, your employer has to pay you for the unavailed leaves.

In terms of number of days, according to law, you are entitled to 30 days of annual leave per year, which can only be delayed or deferred once in two years.

So, unless your company has another policy of carrying over leave, your employer cannot defer annual leave more than once in two years without payment in lieu or leave itself. Therefore, you cannot have more than 60 days of leave deferred legally, without payment in lieu, over more than two years going by this provision.

Your employer should have compensated your unavailed leaves as soon as they reached the two-year mark with payment or leave in lieu. If your contract or firm allows you to carry over leave regardless of the number of years, then this does not apply.

For the remainder of your leave balance, payment solely depends on your firm’s policy – check your work contract or with the HR department. Please contact MOHRE for more clarity as this is a very specific case.


If an employee goes for AL [annual leave] on Thursday and joins back on next Sunday, how many leaves should be deducted? If an employee starts his vacation from Sunday should preceding Friday Saturday be deducted from leave balance? If employee takes a leave in Thursday and joins back on immediate next Sunday, how many days leave should be deducted?

According to the UAE Labour Law, weekends and public holidays can be counted in annual leave if they fall within the leave period approved by the employer.

However, UAE firms have different policies and sometimes only count working days. This depends on your firm’s policy and can differ from the norm.

Please contact MOHRE for more clarity or if you feel a wrongful calculation is being made.

Toll-free hotline number for labour disputes: 80060

Gulf News is not responsible for any losses or damages from changes to these laws or misinterpretations arising therein.