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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 15 November 2018

UAE legal Q&As: am I entitled to more than 23 days of annual leave after working for a year?

A reader asks about annual leave entitlements after working at a company for longer than a year and another asks if unpaid leave is counted in calendar days

I work five days a week and I have been working in the same company for more than a year. I am entitled to 23 days leave but I read that under the law, for every year of service an employee is entitled to annual leave of not less than 30 days if their service exceeds one year. Is the 23 days leave entitlement correct?

According to Article 75 of the Labour Law, an employee is entitled to 30 days of annual leave after a year of service. The same article sets a restriction for the first year of service where it says that the employee is entitled to two days for each month after exceeding six months in service. Once the employee exceeds a year of service, they are entitled to 30 days of annual leave. So, the 23 days of annual leave is not correct and the employee is entitled to the other seven leave days for each year, or its value. To achieve this, the employee needs to file a claim at the labour department (even during employment) which usually mediates between the employee and the employer to reach a settlement. If no settlement is reached, the department grants the employee permission to claim the deducted amounts through the labour court, although the law does not allow any employee or employer to claim entitlements due for more one year.

I would like to know if, under the UAE law, unpaid leave is counted in calendar days? I am planning to take unpaid leave in August, which includes two days off for Eid and weekends that are supposed to be off under my contract. Are these days counted as unpaid leave and deducted?

Article 77 of the Labour Law says that the period of annual leave includes holidays agreed to between the parties, determined by law, sick leave or any other holiday. This means that leave days cannot be divided, and in your case if the leave that you are taking included Friday or Eid days, then these days shall be included into the leave regardless of whether it was a paid or unpaid leave.

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