Dubai: If you are serving your notice period, can you take some days off as part of your annual leave? A Gulf News reader wrote in, enquiring about his rights and the options available to him to avail unused leaves during the notice period.
He asked: “I have put in my resignation papers with my company in Dubai. However, I have 50 days of unused annual leaves. Can some of these unused annual leaves be counted as part of my notice period? If not, can I take some leaves during the notice period? If not, I believe I will only be paid the basic salary for these days as part of my gratuity. Is my understanding correct? Your advice would be really appreciated.”
Gulf News spoke to Jihene Arfoui, a Dubai-based legal consultant, on the laws around notice periods and annual leaves.
“For all employment contracts, serving the notice period mentioned in the contract is mandatory as it has been agreed between the employer and employee. When an employee resigns, he or she is obliged to serve the notice or pay a compensatory amount, unless he or she has a written statement from the employer waiving the notice period, for whichever reason. The UAE Labour Law’s Article 117 stipulates a minimum notice period of 30 days. The parties can agree on a longer notice period but can never reduce it to less than 30 days. Therefore, if both parties agreed to serve a notice of two months, this will have to be followed, unless it is waived by the other party. The notice period starts on the day the resignation is submitted, or delivered by email. An employee's resignation comes into effect from the date that it is submitted to the employer. The consent of the employer is not required. Resignation by email is also acceptable by law, as long as delivery of email can be proven,” she said.
The employee must work during this period, unless he or she agrees in writing with the employer, to take annual leave for the whole or part of the notice period.
Jihene added that as per the UAE Labour Law, the employer may, at his discretion, determine the date for commencement of annual leaves.
“So, the employee must inform the employer of his resignation, according to the period stipulated in the labour contract. Also, the employee must work during this period, unless he or she agrees in writing with the employer, to take annual leave for the whole or part of the notice period,” she said.
Responding to the query from the reader on how the unused annual leaves may be compensated for, Jihene said that gratuity calculations follow a clear process, laid out in the UAE Labour Law, based on the tenure of work and the type of contract – limited or unlimited.
“The end-of-service gratuity is calculated on the basis of the last wage which the employee was entitled to, namely the basic salary. Hence, it will not include allowances such as housing, conveyance, utilities and furniture. If the employee owes any money to the employer, the employer may deduct the amount from the employee's gratuity,” she added.