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Dubai: Working in the UAE brings with it the need to know the UAE labour law. The law details all the issues an employee or employer might face and lays down regulations to govern the relationship.

The maximum number of working hours for adults is eight hours per day or 48 hours per week.

Article 65 of UAE’s labour law states: “The maximum number of ordinary working hours for adult workers shall be eight hours per day, or forty eight hours per week. The number of hours may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security and other jobs whose addition may be made by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labor. Furthermore, the daily number of working hours may be reduced for strenuous or harmful works and such by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs.”

Here is a list of all the leaves you are entitled to ...

1. Public holidays

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These are a total of 11 days in a year when a majority of workers are off, except for essential services. These days are:

Hijri New Year – One day

New Year's Day – One day

Eid al Fitr – Two days

Eid al Adha and Arafat Day – Three days

Prophet Mohammad’s Birthday – One day

Isra and Mi'raj – One day

Commemoration Day – One day

National Day – One day

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2. Annual leave

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This is the stipulated yearly leave and you will need to arrange for these leaves with your manager or HR department, on whether they can be taken in one stretch or if you wish to break them up into shorter leaves.

The labour law states that the leaves should be 30 days per year.


The worker shall be entitled during every year of service an annual leave of no less than the following periods:
a. Two days for each month should the period of service of the worker be of six months at least and a year at most.
b. Thirty days for each year should the period of service of the worker exceed one year.
Should the service of the worker be terminated, the worker shall be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the last year.

3. Leave-in-lieu

Leave in lieu
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When an employee works on his or her day off – whether it is a weekend or a public holiday – he or she is entitled to a day off as well as a 50 per cent pay of the day. If the employee is not granted the leave, he or she should be compensated with 150 per cent of the day's basic salary.

Should the work circumstances require that the worker work during holidays or leaves for which a complete or partial payment is paid thereto, the worker shall be granted a substitute leave as well as an increase in the wage amounting to 50 per cent thereof. Should he not be granted a substitute leave, the employer shall pay to the worker an additional sum to the basic salary thereof amounting to 150 per cent with regards to the days of work.

4. Sick Leave

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This is the provision for leave during sickness that does not arise due to work-related injuries or health concerns.

Workers are not entitled to paid sick leave during their probation period.

After completing your probation period and an additional three months of service, you are entitled to sick leave not more than 90 consecutive or non-consecutive days each year, with the following calculation:

a. The first fifteen days with full pay.

b. The following thirty days with half pay.

c. The following periods without pay.

The labour law also states: "The worker shall not be entitled to the wage during the sick leave should the illness directly arise from the ill behavior of the worker such as the consumption of alcohols or narcotics."

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5. Haj leave

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There is no provision for a paid Haj leave in the labour law. However, workers can avail of a one time unpaid leave for a maximum of 30 days if they are going for Haj. Article 87 of the labour law states: "The worker shall be granted for the entire duration of his employment and for one time a special leave without pay for the pilgrimage. Such leave shall not be included in the other leaves and may not exceed thirty days."

6. Maternity Leave

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Maternity leave in the UAE is calculated at 45 days, but the employee should have been in service at the company for one year. If the worker has worked for less than a year, she can avail of the 45 day maternity leave at half pay.

After the 45 days of paid leave are over, the worker can extend the leave for 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days, without pay.

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Some companies do offer longer maternity leaves for their employees. However, it is the company’s prerogative.

A new law decreed specifically for companies in Dubai International Financial Centre also stipulates five days of paternity leave.

“A female worker shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement, on condition that she has been in her employer’s service for a continuous period of not less than one year. If she has not completed the aforesaid period of service, she shall be entitled to maternity leave with half pay. On the expiry of her maternity leave a female worker may be absent from her work without pay maximum period of 100 consecutive or non consecutive days if such absence is due to an illness preventing her from resuming her work and if the illness is confirm by a medical certificate issued by the medical service specified by the competent health authority or if the latter authority confirms that the illness was caused by the women’s work of confinement. The leave provided for in the preceding two paragraphs, shall not be deducted from other periods of leave”.

7. Compassionate Leave or Bereavement leave

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Even though the UAE Labour Law does not have any provisions which entitle the employee for a compassionate leave, which is commonly given when an immediate family member (first-degree relative or second-degree relative) dies.

In such situations, however, most companies do offer paid leave and if not, the employee can request for the leave to be deducted from their annual leave, or consider unpaid leave or any other arrangement, which the employer would agree to.