UAE: Are Employees Entitled to Overtime or Compensatory Leave for Working During Eid Holidays?

UAE: Are Employees Entitled to Overtime or Compensatory Leave for Working During Eid Holidays?

In the UAE, employees are entitled to public holidays as stipulated by the Employment Law and as declared by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Question: We are employed by a mainland Dubai company and worked over the Eid holiday, often for longer than our regular hours. What are our rights regarding overtime, compensatory leave, and extra pay?

Answer: In the UAE, employee entitlements regarding public holidays and overtime are governed by Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on its implementation. Here's a detailed breakdown of your rights:

Public Holidays

According to Article 28(1) of the Employment Law, employees are entitled to full-paid official leave on public holidays as declared by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). The law states:

“The employee shall be entitled to official leave with full pay in public holidays determined by decision of the Cabinet.”

Compensatory Leave or Additional Pay for Working on Public Holidays

If you are required to work on a public holiday, your employer must either provide a compensatory rest day or pay an additional salary. Specifically, Article 28(2) of the Employment Law mandates:

“Should the work circumstances require that the employee be employed on holidays, the employee shall be compensated with a substitute rest day for each day worked, or be paid his salary for normal working days plus a supplement of at least 50 percent of his basic salary for that day.”

Overtime Pay

For work exceeding the regular hours, employees are entitled to overtime pay. Article 19 of the Employment Law outlines the conditions for overtime:

  1. Employers may require additional working hours, but not exceeding two hours per day. The total working hours should not exceed 144 hours over three weeks.
  2. Overtime is compensated with the normal hourly wage plus at least 25 percent of the basic salary for the extended hours.
  3. For overtime between 10 pm and 4 am, employees should receive the normal hourly wage plus at least 50 percent of the basic salary, except for those working in shifts.


Certain employees are not entitled to overtime pay, including those in managerial or supervisory positions, or those involved in technical work requiring continuous shifts. Article 15 (4) (b) and (d) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 specifies:

“The following categories shall be exempted from the provisions related to the maximum working hours:

- Persons occupying supervisory positions with powers of the employer.

- Those engaged in work that must be carried out continuously by successive shifts, provided the average working hours do not exceed 56 hours per week.”


Based on these legal provisions, you and your colleagues are entitled to compensatory leave or additional pay for working on public holidays. Additionally, you are eligible for overtime pay for extra hours worked, unless you fall into the exempt categories such as managers, supervisors, or technical workers in continuous shifts.

Ensure that your employment contract and position do not classify you under the exemptions to benefit from the provisions of the Employment Law completely. If there are any disputes, consider consulting with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or a legal expert to protect your rights.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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