A reader asks if they can take a month-long leave.
Question: Is there a cap on the number of annual leaves UAE employees can take? Can I take a month-long leave if I have enough paid leave? Can my boss ask me to split the leave into two?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by an employer based in the mainland of UAE and you have completed more than one year of service with your employer. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations are applicable.
In the UAE, an employee is entitled to 30 calendar days of paid annual leave in a year. This is in accordance with Article 29(1) (a) of the Employment Law, which states,
“Without prejudice to the rights accruing to the employee prior to the entry into force of this Decree-Law, the employee shall be entitled to a paid annual leave of not less than (30) thirty days a year for each year of service.”
Moreover, the Employment Law and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 is silent on an employer dividing the annual leave of 30 calendar days in a year into two or more intervals. But it is up to an employer to decide on the allotment of leave to its employer based on the work requirements of an employer and by agreement with an employee. This is in accordance with Article 29(4) of the Employment Law, which states,
“The employee shall use his leave in the year of entitlement. The employer may fix the date of leave according to the work requirements and in agreement with the employee, or rotate leave among employees for the smooth progress of work and shall notify the employee of the date of his leave at least (1) one month before the same.”
However, an employee may carry forward half of his annual leave to the following year. This is in accordance with Article 19(1) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which states,
“Subject to the provisions of clauses (8) and (9) of Article 29 of the Decree Law:
The employee may carry forward not more than half of the annual leave to the following year, or he may agree with the employer to receive a cash allowance thereof according to the salary he receives at the time of his entitlement to the leave.”
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, as an employee, you may avail 30 calendar days of annual leave in a year. However, it may be at the discretion of your employer to decide whether you could avail 30 calendar days of annual leave at one time or different intervals based on the HR policy of your employer.
In addition, the ceiling of the number of days of annual leave which an employee may avail of depends on various scenarios. In a normal scenario annual leave is availed by an employee for 30 calendar days in a year for a continuous period or in intervals. There may be circumstances where an employer may allow an employee to avail of annual leave once in two years as mentioned in Article 29(8) of the Employment Law. Further, another scenario may be where an employee has remaining annual leave which he or she has carried forward from the previous year, such employee may avail entire 30 calendar days of annual leave for the current year along with the ones which are carried forward from the previous year. There may be instances where employer and employee may agree on payment of cash allowance if the employee does not wish to avail annual leave as mentioned in the later part of aforementioned Article 19(1) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.
News Source: Khaleej Times