GCC Laws
Working Hours and Leaves

Working Hours and Leaves

Q. What are the normal working hours for workers in UAE?

As per the UAE labor laws, the standard working hours are a maximum of 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week, with Friday typically being the weekly rest day. In specific cases, like commercial establishments, hotels, cafeterias, and security services, the daily working hours can be extended to 9 hours. 

The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs can also reduce daily working hours for arduous or health-hazardous work. During the month of Ramadan, the normal working hours are reduced. Time spent traveling between home and work is not counted as working hours.

Also Read: What is a Zero Hour Contract?

Q. Can employees request flexible working hours?

Yes, per the UAE Labor Law, flexible working hours are possible with mutual agreement between the employee and employer. 

There is no restriction on working hour arrangements as long as the arrangements do not negatively impact the health, safety, and productivity of the employee. Both parties can agree on flexible timing, like working 4 longer days instead of 5 regular days, adjusting start/end times, etc.

Q. What is the leave rule in UAE?

Every employee is entitled to a fully compensated annual vacation of 30 days if they have finished one year of employment, according to Article 29 of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021. However, those who have completed six months of service are entitled to two days of leave each month.

Q. Is break time included in working hours in the UAE?

Daily working hours must be structured so that no worker works for more than five consecutive hours without breaks for rest, meals, and prayer. These breaks, which should amount to a total of at least one hour, are not counted as part of the working hours. Factories, workshops with successive shifts, and uninterrupted processes may follow specific guidelines for granting breaks as defined by the Minister.

‍Also Read: What is Merit Pay? 

Q. Are there specific regulations regarding overtime work in the UAE?

There is no specific rule on minimum overtime hour requirements in the UAE. However, per the UAE Labor Law, the maximum overtime allowed per day is 2 hours. This means employers cannot request that employees work more than two additional hours daily.

Q. How is overtime calculated in the UAE?

When work circumstances necessitate working more than the regular hours, any period exceeding the normal hours is considered overtime. Workers receive the wage specified for normal working hours plus a supplement of at least 25% of that wage for overtime.

To calculate the overtime payment:

Overtime Pay = (Basic Salary ÷ 365 days ÷ 8 standard hours) x 1.25 x Total Overtime Hours

Also Read: Compensatory Leave

Q. What is the overtime rate for night work as per the UAE labor law?

If work circumstances require workers to work overtime between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m., they are entitled to the wage stipulated for normal working hours plus a supplement of at least 50% of that wage.

Q. Do people work on Fridays in the UAE?

Friday is the normal weekly rest day for all workers except daily-paid workers. If a worker is required to work on Friday, they must receive either a substitute rest day or their basic wage for normal hours plus a supplement of at least 50% of that wage.

Q. How many successive Fridays can a worker work in the UAE?

As per the law, except for daily-paid workers, no worker should be obliged to work more than two successive Fridays.

Also Read: What are Public Holidays?

Q. How many public holidays are there in the UAE in 2024? 

Date Weekday Holiday
January 1 Monday New Year’s Day
February 7-8 Wednesday-Thursday Israa and Miaraj Night
April 8-11 Monday-Thursday Eid Al Fitr
June 15 Saturday Arafat Day
June 16-19 Sunday-Wednesday Eid Al Adha
July 7 Sunday-Monday Islamic New Year
September 15 Sunday Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday
November 18 Monday Oman National Day
December 1 Sunday Commemoration Day
December 2 Monday UAE National Day

Q. Are working hours reduced during Ramadan in the UAE?

During Ramadan, the hours are reduced to 6 hours per day (36 hours per week).

Q. Do employers share the work schedule with the workers in the UAE?

‍As per Article 73, employers must display a work schedule showing weekly days off, hours of work, and rest periods at main entrances and in conspicuous positions at the workplace. This schedule should also be filed with the competent labor department. If the workplace doesn't follow the statutory weekly day off, a schedule should display the weekly rest day for each worker's class.

Q. How many leaves are in the UAE?

The main provisions around leave as per UAE Labor Law are:

  • Annual leave entitlement of 30 days
  • Maximum accumulation of unused annual leave up to 30 days
  • 90 days of paid sick leave and another 90 days at half-pay
  • 45 days maternity leave + 5 days paternity leave

Q. Do employees get paid leaves in the UAE?

The law mandates that workers are entitled to leave with full pay on specific occasions, including New Year's Day, Bairam holidays, Prophet Mohammed's birthday, Al Isra and Al Mi’raj, and National Day.

Q. How is annual leave entitlement determined?

As per the law, for each year of service: 

  • Workers with a service period of over six months but less than one year are entitled to two days per month. 
  • Workers with a service period of over one year are entitled to 30 days per year.

Q. Can the employer decide the timing of annual leave?
According to the UAE  law, employers can decide when annual leave starts and, if necessary, divide it into two periods. This provision doesn't apply to child workers' leave.

Q. Are holidays and sick leaves included in annual leave in the UAE?

The holidays prescribed by law, agreement, or sickness days falling within annual leave are considered part of the annual leave.

Q. What happens when a worker's employment ends in the UAE?

According to the law, when workers' service ends, they receive payment for any accrued annual leave days based on their wage when the leave becomes due.

Q. Are workers paid before taking annual leave in UAE?

As per the law, employers are liable to pay workers their full wages plus prescribed leave pay before they go on annual leave

Also Read: What are Paid Holidays?

Q. What happens if a worker works in UAE during holidays or days off?

According to Article 81, workers who work on holidays or days off when entitled to full or partial pay are granted substitute leave and 50% of their wage. 

The employer must pay 150% of the basic wage for days worked if no substitute leave is given.

Q. What's the procedure for reporting and verifying illnesses in the UAE?

If a worker contracts a non-work-related illness, they must report it within two days. As per Article 82, the employer then arranges for a medical examination to verify the illness.

Q. What's the sick leave entitlement?

After three months of continuous service following the probationary period, a worker is entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days per year. This is divided into:

First 15 days: full pay
Next 30 days: half pay

Subsequent periods: no pay

Q. What happens if a worker doesn't return after sick leave in the UAE?

According to Article 85, if a worker doesn't resume work after sick leave, they forfeit their wage for the absence period, starting from the day after the leave expiry.

Also Read: What is a Leave of Absence? 

Q. What if a worker resigns due to illness during sick leave?

According to article 86 of UAE labor law, if a worker resigns due to illness within the first 45 days of sick leave and it's medically accepted via legal sources, the employer pays the wage for the remaining days of the first 45-day period.

Q. Is special leave granted for pilgrimage in UAE?

As per the law, workers are entitled to one special unpaid leave during their entire service for pilgrimage. This leave doesn't deduct from other entitlements and shouldn't exceed 30 days.

Q. Can workers work for another employer while on leave in the UAE?

Working for another employer during annual or sick leave is prohibited except for daily-paid workers. According to Article 88 of the UAE Labor Laws, violating this rule can lead to service termination and denial of leave pay.

Q. Can an employer terminate a worker while he’s on leave?

As per the UAE labor law, unless specific provisions allow otherwise, an employer can't dismiss a worker or serve a notice of dismissal during a leave provided under this section.

Also Read: What is a letter of termination? 

Q. How many maternity leaves do employees get in the UAE?

It grants female employees 45 days of paid maternity leave before and after delivery. New fathers or legal guardians of the child are eligible for 3 - 5 paid days of paternity leave.

Q. Can employees carry forward their unused leave days in the UAE?

Employees can carry forward up to 30 days of unused annual leave to the following year, with written approval from the employer. These accumulated leaves can be utilized in the subsequent years or encashed at the end of the employment contract.

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