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Understanding Employee Leaves under UAE Labour Law

Oct 22, 2023 / UAE Labour Law

Discover the types of leaves under UAE Labour Law

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has established a robust labour law framework to govern the relationships between employers and employees in the private sector. Officially known as Federal Legislation Decree No. 33/2022, the UAE Labour Law sets out the rights and obligations of both parties. It covers various aspects of employment, including hiring practices, working hours, vacation entitlements, leaves, safety regulations, minimum wage, termination procedures, end-of-service gratuities, and workplace injuries. In this article, we’ll focus on the different types of leaves available to workers under the UAE Labour Law, explaining each in a conversational tone so that anyone can easily understand their rights and benefits.

Types of Leaves under UAE Labour Law

Paid 30-Day Annual Leave:

Under the UAE Labour Law, employees are entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave after completing one year of full-time employment with a company. If you’ve been on the job for at least six months, you can take two paid days off each month. The law ensures that employers cannot continuously employ an individual for two years without granting them their annual leave. Importantly, even part-time workers are entitled to an annual break.

At Least One Day Off Weekly:

Employees in the private sector are guaranteed at least one day of compensated rest every week. The UAE Labour Law provides this right under Article 21, and employers have the option to increase the number of weekly rest days if they wish.

Public/Official Holidays:

In accordance with Article 28 of the UAE Labour Law, employees are eligible for fully paid public, official, and gazette holidays. If you are required to work on these holidays, your employer must compensate you properly or grant you alternative leave.

Sick Leave:

After completing the probation period, employees are entitled to sick leave for up to 90 days per year. During the first 15 days, you will receive full compensation, followed by half compensation for the next 30 days. After that, there is no compensation for the remaining 45 days. It’s worth noting that employees can take sick leave without compensation during the probation period, provided their employer approves it based on a medical report from a competent medical authority.

Parental Holidays:

New parents in the UAE are granted five working days of leave under the Labour Law. These holidays are given to both mothers and fathers from the time of the child’s birth until the baby reaches six months. This leave is fully paid and available to both parents.

Maternity Leave:

Female employees in the private sector of the UAE are entitled to a maternity leave of two months (60 days). This leave is calculated as 45 days of full pay followed by 15 days of half pay. Maternity leave can be taken up to 30 days before the expected delivery date.

Higher Study Leave:

The UAE Labour Law allows workers to take ten days of paid leave each year to pursue higher education. This entitlement applies only to employees studying at educational institutions within the UAE and completing more than two years of service with their current employer.

Compassionate/Bereavement Leave:

In the unfortunate event of the death of a close family member, employees in the UAE are entitled to a certain number of paid leave days. The specific number of days can vary under the Labour Law. In general, three days of paid leave are typically granted in case of the death of close relatives, such as spouses, parents, children, grandchildren, grandparents, and siblings.

Leave for Sabbatical (Extended Break from Work):

Under the UAE Labour Law, Emiratis employed in the private sector are eligible for a paid sabbatical leave an extended work break. This leave is typically granted to complete national duty, as Federal Decree-Law No. 6/2014 requires. It applies to national males who are medically fit and have been approved by the UAE National and Reserve Service Committee of the Armed Forces General Command.


Understanding the types of leaves available under the UAE Labour Law is essential for employees and employers. These leaves provide workers important benefits such as annual vacations, sick leave, parental holidays, ensuring a work-life balance, and caring for their well-being. Employers should know these regulations to ensure compliance and promote a healthy and productive workforce. For further guidance and to navigate the complexities of UAE labour standards, it’s advisable to seek the expertise of employment consultants who can provide valuable insights and support in ensuring adherence to the law.


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