GCC Laws
Working Hours and Leaves

Working Hours and Leaves

Q. What are the maximum working hours for adult workers?

As per Article 65, 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.

Q. Can employees request flexible working hours?

Yes, per Article 65 of 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. How are daily working hours regulated for breaks?

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.

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. What is considered as overtime?

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

Suggested: Compensatory Leave

Q. What is the overtime rate for night work?

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. Is there a limit to the number of hours of overtime?

The law generally limits actual overtime hours to two per day. However, this limit can be exceeded in cases of substantial loss, serious accidents, or mitigating the impact of such incidents.

Q. What is the weekly rest day for workers?

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?

As per Article 71, except for daily-paid workers, no worker should be obliged to work more than two successive Fridays.

Q. What are the provisions around working hours and rest breaks as outlined in Article 72 of the UAE Labor Law?

The daily working hours are limited to 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. During Ramadan, the hours are reduced to 6 hours per day (36 hours per week).

The working hours should be scheduled such that employees get sufficient rest breaks during the working day, with the minimum break being one hour. The breaks are not included in the calculation of working hours.

The law requires that every employee gets one paid rest day per week, with Friday being the common rest day in the UAE. However, in companies that operate on weekends, any other day can be designated as the weekly rest day.

There are also provisions for Muslim employees to take sufficient breaks for prayers without any deductions in pay. The time required for prayers is not calculated as part of the working hours.

Q. Who is exempted from these provisions?

Senior executive managerial or supervisory positions and certain marine vessel crew members are exempted from the provisions mentioned in this section.

Q. What are the requirements for posting work schedules?

‍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. When are workers entitled to leave with full pay?

Article 74 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 ‍Article 75, 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 Article 76, 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?

As per Article 77, the holidays prescribed by law, agreement, or sickness days falling within annual leave are considered part of the annual leave.

Q. What compensation is due during annual leave?

During annual leave, workers receive their basic wage and housing allowance (if applicable). As per Article 78, if a worker is required to work during leave, they receive their normal wage plus an allowance in lieu of leave for days worked, calculated on their basic wage.

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

According to Article 79, when a worker's service ends, they receive payment for any accrued annual leave days based on their wage when the leave became due.

Q. Are workers paid before taking annual leave?

Article 80 mandates that employers are liable to pay workers their full wage plus prescribed leave pay before they go on annual leave.

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

According to Article 81, if workers work on holidays or days off when entitled to full or partial pay, they 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 illness reporting and verification?

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. Are wages paid during sick leave for misconduct-related illnesses?

According to Article 84, a wage is paid for sick leave if the illness results directly from the worker's misconduct, such as alcohol or narcotic drug consumption.

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

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.

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

According to article 86, 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?

As per Article 87, workers are entitled to one special unpaid leave during their entire service for pilgrimage. This leave doesn't deduct from other leave entitlements and shouldn't exceed 30 days.

Q. Can workers work for another employer during leave?

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. What happens if a worker doesn't return after leave?

As per Article 89, if a worker doesn't return to work immediately after leave expires, their wage for the absence period is automatically forfeited, starting from the day after leave expiry.

Q. Can a worker be dismissed while on leave?

As per Article 90, 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.

Q. What is the annual leave entitlement for employees in the UAE?

As per Article 75, the minimum paid annual leave entitlement is 30 calendar days. This is inclusive of national/religious holidays. The leave accrues on a pro-rata basis from the start of employment. Employees with longer service periods can negotiate for additional leave.

Q. How does the UAE labor law address sick leave and medical absence?

Article 83 states provision for 90 consecutive or intermittent days of paid sick leave on full pay, and another 90 days on half pay, over a 1-year period. A valid medical certificate from an approved health center/hospital is required to avail this.

Q. Are there provisions for maternity and paternity leave in the UAE?

Yes, Article 30 covers maternity and paternity leave. It grants female employees 45 days of paid maternity leave, including the time 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 accumulate unused leave days in the UAE?

As per Article 78, employees can carry forward up to 30 days of unused annual leave to the next 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.

Q. What is the leave rule in 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. Are there special provisions for leave during the notice period or before termination? 

No, as per Article 76, there are no special provisions around leave during the notice period or at termination. Leave continues to accrue as normal during the employment term, and the unused leave balance is calculated as usual at the end of service.

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