Dubai: If you have taken a three-month medical leave, are you still entitled to an annual paid leave? A Gulf News reader wrote in raising these queries.
He said: “I have been working for a UAE-based company for the last 30 years. I had a major operation and took three months’ medical leave. Am I entitled for the annual leave salary, since I have taken medical leave? Can I take an annual leave of one month along with a medical leave of three months together if the medical condition requires that? And can my employer deny my leave salary because I have taken medical leave? What are the benefits of medical leave? I have taken two medical leaves for two consecutive years.”
Gulf News raised the query with Vivian Ch’ng, an associate at Dubai-based law firm - Alsuwaidi and Company. She said that the new labour law Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations stipulates that if a worker is suffering or recuperating from a disease that was not caused by a work injury should inform their employers within three days.
“A worker who suffers from a disease that is not caused by a work injury, he or she shall inform the employer or the employer’s representative of the illness, within a period not exceeding three working days, and submit a medical report on his or her condition issued by a medical entity (any federal or local government health entity or any private health establishment licensed to provide health services in the UAE).”
Am I entitled to paid leave?
Depending on the length of your medical leave, Ch’ng explained how the leave is calculated and the pay you are entitled to:
The Labour Law further provides that a worker is entitled to sick leave of not more than ninety consecutive or intermittent days per year, subject to the calculation as follows:
a) The first fifteen days with full-pay.
b) the following thirty days with half-pay.
c) the subsequent period without pay.
“The reader did not clarify whether the three-month leave was taken twice in two consecutive years, ex: a three-month leave was taken each year, or the three-month leave was taken intermittently in the course of two consecutive years. In the former scenario, the reader will only be entitled to full-pay for the first fifteen days of his sick leave and half-pay for the following thirty days. The same calculation will also apply in the latter scenario.”
Can I take an annual paid leave along with a medical leave?
Employees can take an annual leave of one month along with their three month medical leave, if their condition requires that.
“Employees are entitled to 30 days of annual leave with full-pay, along with a maximum of 90-day sick leave, the pay of which will follow the calculations provided,” she said.
Ch’ng further stated: “Employees can take a sick leave of not more than 90 days (consecutive or intermittent) per year. Therefore, there is no issue with exhausting the 90 days (not more) per year allowance in two consecutive years, provided you have informed your employer and duly submitted a medical report.”
Employees are entitled to 30 days of annual leave with full-pay, along with a maximum of 90-day sick leave, the pay of which will follow the calculations provided.
When can my employer deny my sick leave pay?
An employer can deny your sick leave compensation, if you have committed a violation and even terminate your contract if you have extended your medical leave.
Here are the circumstances under the labour law where an employer can deny your sick leave, as stated by Ch’ng:
A. Drug or alcohol abuse, subject to submission of a report from the concerned authorities of the UAE to prove that the illness resulted from the misconduct.
B. Violation of the safety regulations in accordance with the legislation in force in the UAE.
Termination of the employee’s contract for extending their medical leave
“The reader should also take note that the employer has an option as per the laws to terminate a worker once the worker has exhausted the ninety-day sick leave per year, if he or she is unable to return to work, with his or her rights to financial entitlements reserved.”