Types of Leaves in UAE

Types of Leaves in UAE

Employees in the private sector are eligible for various types of leaves in UAE, including annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, compassionate leave, and leave for completing Hajj. This article outlines the regulations and provisions pertaining to each of these leave categories.

Types of Leaves in UAE

Various Types of Leaves in UAE

Here are various types of leaves in UAE:

Sabbatical Leave

In accordance with the ‘UAE Labour Law,’ Emirati employees in the private sector are granted a paid sabbatical leave, allowing for an extended break from work to fulfill their national service duties. Similar to annual leave, a sabbatical break is a paid period of time off from work. Nevertheless, it is important to note that this leave is exclusively available to Emirati workers. While sabbatical leave is often associated with academic pursuits, its purpose in the UAE differs, as it is linked to fulfilling national service obligations.

Article 32 of the Federal Decree-Law No. (33) stipulates that national workers are entitled to sabbatical leave to fulfill their national service obligations. As per the applicable legislation, national service typically spans a duration of 11 months to three years and is obligatory for males while being optional for females. To access this leave, employees are required to provide documentation from the relevant authorities.

Study Leave

According to Article 32 of the Federal Decree-Law No. (33), an employee who is enrolled in a certified educational institution in the UAE is eligible for a paid leave of 10 days annually to attend examinations. To qualify for this leave, the employee must have completed a minimum of two years of service with the employer.

Advancing one’s career is a shared ambition among employees in various business sectors. A reliable approach to ensure sustained career growth is through continuous education and personal development, a path accessible to workers in the UAE.

Compassionate Leave

In the private sector, an employee is eligible for:

  • A paid leave of five days in the event of the death of their spouse.
  • A paid leave of three days is granted in the event of the passing of a parent, child, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent.

For additional details regarding leaves, you can refer to the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labor Relations in the Private Sector, commonly known as ‘The UAE Labor Law’.

Hajj and Umrah Leave

Pilgrimage, as one of the five pillars of Islam, is an obligation for every Muslim to undertake at least once in their lifetime. In the UAE, Islamic authorities regard Hajj (the pilgrimage to Makkah) as the most significant pilgrimage, justifying time off work.

Hajj Leave: Employees may be granted special leave for the performance of Hajj, with the following provisions:

  • The leave is provided without pay.
  • The duration may not exceed 30 days.
  • It is typically granted only once during the employee’s tenure with the company.

Umrah Leave: The UAE Labor Law does not include provisions for Umrah leave. If an employee requests Umrah leave, it is at the discretion of the employer to grant it, either by deducting from the employee’s annual leave or considering it as unpaid leave.

Like Types of Leaves in UAE, you may also like to know about Most demanded skills in the UAE.

Maternity Leave

According to Article 30 of the Federal Decree-Law No. 33, a female worker in the UAE is eligible for a maternity leave of 60 days, structured as follows:

  • 45 days of fully-paid leave.
  • 15 days of half-paid leave.

She can apply for maternity leave up to 30 days before the expected delivery date. In addition to the basic maternity leave, she has the option to take an additional 45 days without pay if she experiences an illness related to pregnancy or childbirth, which prevents her from resuming work. The medical condition must be substantiated with a medical certificate from the relevant medical authority. These additional leave days can be taken consecutively or intermittently.

If the child falls ill or has a disability, the female worker may take an extra 30 days of fully-paid leave, which can be extended for another 30 days without pay. The child’s condition must be confirmed through a medical certificate from the respective medical authority.

Following her return to work, the female worker is entitled to one or two additional breaks each day for nursing her child. The combined duration of these breaks should not exceed one hour. These breaks are fully paid for and can be utilized for up to 6 months from the date of delivery.

Types of Leaves in UAE

Parental Leave

Private sector employees in the UAE have the privilege of a parental leave lasting for 5 working days starting from the day of their child’s birth and continuing up to six months. This parental leave is a paid benefit that can be availed by both the mother and the father of the newborn.

This provision was established subsequent to the approval of amendments to the Labour Law by the late H. H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who was the President of the UAE at that time. The progressive move made the UAE the first Arab nation to bestow parental leave rights upon private sector employees.

For further details, you can refer to the news coverage on WAM.

Sick Leave

An employee can have a sick leave of up to 90 days each year, but this starts only after they complete their probation period. During this 90-day sick leave, the pay is as follows:

  • Full pay for the first 15 days.
  • Half pay for the next 30 days.
  • No pay for the remaining 45 days.

However, during the probation period, if an employee gets sick, they might have a sick leave without pay. The employer has to agree to this, and it requires a medical report stating that the leave is necessary.

Please note: The rules mentioned above have certain conditions and do not apply if the sickness is because of something related to the job.

Additionally, an employee won’t get paid for sick leave in the following situations:

  • During the probation period.
  • If the illness is a result of the employee’s misconduct, like using alcohol or drugs.
  • If the employee didn’t follow safety rules stated in the UAE’s laws and the company’s regulations, which the employee was informed about.

Informing Your Employer About a Sick Leave

Per Article 31 of the UAE Labor Law, employees are required to inform their employer about their illness within a maximum of three days and provide a medical report detailing their condition, issued by a medical facility.

Is It Possible to Terminate an Employee Due to Illness?

An employer is not permitted to terminate an employee or issue a termination notice while the employee is on sick leave. However, if an employee exhausts their 90 days of sick leave and is still unable to return to work, the employer may terminate their employment. In this scenario, the employee is entitled to end-of-service benefits as specified by labor law.

For further details on sick leave in accordance with the UAE Labor Law and its Executive Regulations, you can refer to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE).

Annual leave

Annual leave in the UAE is granted under the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, known as the ‘UAE Labour Law.’ Here’s what you need to know:


  • Employees are entitled to a fully paid annual leave based on their service duration.
    • 30 days if they’ve completed one year of service.
    • 2 days for every month if they’ve worked for at least six months, but less than a year.
  • If an employee’s service ends before they can use all their annual leave, they’ll receive leave for the fraction of the last year of service.

Part-time employees: Their annual leave is determined by the actual hours worked according to the employment contract and the ‘Executive Regulations of the Labour Law.’

Rules for Taking Annual Leave:

  • Employees should use their leave in the same year they’re entitled to it.
  • Employers, in agreement with the employee, can decide when the leave will be taken based on work requirements. The employer should notify the employee of the leave dates at least one month in advance.
  • If agreed upon by the employer and according to company regulations, employees can carry over their annual leave balance to the next year. In this case, they’ll be paid for the days they worked during the leave, calculated based on the basic salary.
  • Employers cannot prevent employees from using their accrued annual leave for more than two years. Upon the termination of employment, any accumulated leave days will be calculated using the employee’s basic salary.
  • The duration of annual leave includes official holidays specified by law or agreement, as well as any sick leaves within the annual leave period unless the employment contract or company regulations state otherwise.
Types of Leaves in UAE

Official leaves and vacations

According to Article 21 of the UAE Labor Law, private sector employees have the following rights regarding rest days and public holidays:

Rest Days:

  • Employees are entitled to at least one paid rest day per week, as stated in their employment contract or the company’s work regulations. The company can choose to grant more weekly rest days.
  • Additionally, employees have the right to paid leave on public holidays.

Working on Holidays or Leave Days:

  • If an employee is required to work on official holidays or during leave days, they must be compensated in one of the following ways:
    • Given another rest day in exchange.
    • Paid for that day, receiving their normal wage plus at least 50% more on their basic wage.

Reference: Article 28 of the UAE Labor Law.