Legal View

Hamdan Al Harmi is an advocate and Legal Consultant from Emirates Advocate. He can be contacted on It is advisable that readers with queries on labour-related issues specify the type of contract they have with their sponsors, limited or unlimited, the duration of the years of service and explain, in brief, the reasons for leaving the sponsor. Readers may e-mail their questions to or send it to Khaleej Times Dubai P.O. Box 11243.

By Hamdan Al Harmi ( — Complied By Eman Al Baik)

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Published: Sun 23 Oct 2005, 10:18 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:56 PM

Working on Eid, official holidays

I am an Arab employed in a private company. On Eid holidays, official holidays and Fridays, the manager assigns some of the employees to work, but, never compensates them financially or in terms of compensatory leave arguing that the employer may ask his employees to work on Fridays and official holidays based on work requirements. With Eid Al Fitr approaching, we are expecting similar treatment. What are our entitlements for working on Fridays and what are the official holidays we are entitled for?

A: The employer has the right to ask his employees to work on an official holiday or Fridays as stated in the Labour Law No. 8 of 1981. However, the same law also makes it clear that the employer should compensate the employee assigned to work on an official holiday.

Article No. 70 of the Labour Law states: "Friday shall be the normal weekly rest day for all workers except daily-paid workers. Where the circumstances require a worker to work on this day, he shall be granted off on another day or receive his basic remuneration for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of the remuneration."

Article No. 74 stipulates: "Each worker shall be entitled to official holidays with full pay on the following occasions:

New Year's Day (Hijra) – one day

New Year's Day – one day

Feast of the Lesser Bairam (Eid Al Fitr) – two days

Feast of the Greater Bairam and Ever of Greater Bairam (Eid Al Adha) – three days

Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – one day

Nocturnal Journey and Ascension of the Prophet – one day

National Day – one day

Article No. 81 of the law specifies entitlements of workers should they be asked to work on official or religious holidays as: "Where the circumstances of the work make it necessary for a worker to work on a public holiday or rest day in respect of which he is entitled to full or partial pay, he shall be granted compensatory leave in respect of such days, together with a bonus equal to 50 per cent of his remuneration. If he is not compensated for such days by leave, his employer shall pay him a bonus equal to 150 per cent of his basic remuneration in respect of the days worked."

Compensation for annual leave

I am a Pakistani employed in a private company for the past two years. I have an unlimited contract with my employer. I was told that I will be entitled to a one month's annual leave after completion of eleven months with the company. My manager asked me if I can delay taking my annual leave to next summer to meet work requirement.

I agreed provided that I will either be financially compensated or carry it over to the next summer, allowing me to go on two-month vacation. The manager told me that the company could not grant two-month annual leave to its staff in one go, and promised to compensate me through cash. However, three months have passed, but the company has not compensated me for the one-month during which I worked. What are my financial entitlements? I am afraid the next summer, my boss will not allow me to go on leave. Does he have the right to do so?

A: Article No. 78 of the Labour Law No 8. of 1981 states: "Every worker shall be entitled to his basic wage and the housing allowance if applicable in respect of his days of annual leave where the circumstances of the work make it necessary for a worker to work during all or part of his annual leave, and the days of leave on which he works are not carried forward to the following year, the employer shall pay him his remuneration, plus a leave allowance in respect of the days worked at a rate equal to his basic wage."

It would be unlawful, in any circumstance, to employ a worker during his annual leave more than once in two successive years.

The employer is supposed to encash the annual leave immediately if the employee works through it. This is to make the worker feel secure and simultaneously the employer gains highest possible productivity. I advise this employer and all employers to immediately pay financial dues such as in this case to their workers and not to accumulate till a worker leaves the company as some employers do.

As well, I advise workers who are not paid their entitlements immediately to file a complaint before the lapse of one year. According to the law, a worker loses his entitlement if one year lapses from the date it was due and was not fulfilled.

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