Paid Employee Leave In The UAE


Determining when employees in the UAE can have time away from work

The UAE’s Labour Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – provides details on the different types of paid leaves workers can take in the UAE, including annual leave, sick leave and maternity leave. Apart from these, workers are also entitled to a day off during public holidays.

There are nine types of paid leave that private sector employees in the UAE’s mainland are authorized to take.

Annual Leave

Employees who have completed one year of full-time service are entitled to 30 days of paid annual leave. Workers who have completed six months of service can take two days off per month.

It is also important to note that a company cannot employ a worker continuously for two years without granting him or her annual leave, according to Article 29, clause 8 of the UAE Labour Law.

Part-time workers are also entitled to annual leave, with the number of annual leave days calculated on the basis of the working hours specified in their employment contract.

Weekly Rest Days

As per Article 21 of the UAE Labour Law, private sector employees are entitled to at least one day of paid rest per week, although companies may also decide to increase the number of weekly rest days.

Public Holidays

Under Article 28, a worker is entitled to official leave with full pay on public holidays. If workers are required to work during public holidays, they should be compensated for working during the leave days.

Sick Leave

Workers who have completed the probation period are entitled to a sick leave of not more than 90 days per year.

The 90 days’ sick leave can be continuous or intermittent, and the salary is paid 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, the employee may take a sick leave without pay, subject to the approval of the employer and based on a medical report issued by an authorized medical entity.

Maternity Leave

Working mothers in the UAE’s private sector are entitled to a maternity leave of 60 days, out of which:

  • 45 days will be a fully-paid leave; and
  • 15 days will be on half-pay

Employees may apply for this maternity leave up to 30 days before the expected delivery date.

Parental Leave (for new parents)

The UAE’s Labour Law grants private sector employees in the UAE parental leave of five working days from the date of their child’s birth to six months of age. This is a paid leave and can be applied for by the mother and father of the baby.

Study Leave

Workers pursuing higher education in the UAE can take a paid 10-day leave every year to sit for examinations.

The employee must be a student attending an educational institution in the UAE and should have completed at least two years of service with the employer.


Bereavement or compassionate leave is for employees, in case of the death of a close relative or family member.

The number of days of leave may vary slightly, with the UAE Labour Law providing five days of paid bereavement leave for the death of a spouse and three days paid leave in the event of the death of a parent, child, sibling, grandchild or grandparent.

Sabbatical Leave (extended break from work)

As per the UAE Labour Law, Emiratis working in the private sector are entitled to a paid sabbatical leave (extended break from work) to perform national service. According to Federal Law No. 6 for 2014 on National Military Service and Reserve Force as amended, it is mandatory for all medically fit Emirati men to accomplish the national service after obtaining the approval of National and Reserve Service Committee of UAE Armed Forces’ General Command. This does not apply to foreign employees.

Dezan Shira & Associates can assist with HR and payroll services in the UAE. For assistance, please email

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