UAE: Can employees combine Eid holidays with annual leave?

Can I be forced to work on my day off?


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 11:21 AM

Last updated: Sun 24 Apr 2022, 10:52 PM

Question: I work in an Abu Dhabi-based firm. My question is about the upcoming Eid Al Fitr holidays. Can I combine these five days off with a week’s annual leave? If I take two weeks of leave, including the five-day break, how many annual leaves do I have to apply for?

Response: Pursuant to queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a firm in mainland firm Abu Dhabi. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law') and the provisions of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 Concerning the Executive Regulations of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022’) are applicable.

The Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratization on April 21, 2022 has announced holidays from 29th day of Ramadan month (April 30, 2022) until 3rd day of Shawwal month (May 3, 2022 or May 4, 2022) for the private sector employees in the UAE as the Eid Al Fitr holidays. The Employment Law is silent pertaining to combining of annual leave with the public holidays. But in accordance with Article 21(5) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 the annual leave may be combined only with bereavement leave and parental leave or with any leave without pay. However, if the public holidays arrive within the annual leave period of any employee, such public holidays are considered as part of annual leave, and it is not treated separately from the annual leave unless the employment contract or the employer’s policies states otherwise which is advantageous to the employee. This is in accordance with Article 29 (7) of the Employment Law, which states, "Days off prescribed by law or agreement shall be counted in and considered as part of the annual leave if they fall within the dates of annual leave, unless the Employment Contract or the Establishment bylaws provide for something more beneficial to the employee."

Based on the aforementioned provision of law, it is recommended that you apply for annual leave commencing from first working day upon completion of upcoming Eid Al Fitr holidays. This will enable you to apply only for nine (9) days of annual leave if the Eid Al Fitr holidays are for four (4) days or ten (10) days if the Eid Al Fitr holidays are for five (5) days based on the moon sighting. This will enable you to consider availing fourteen (14) days (two weeks) of holidays at a stretch. However, if you intend to avail annual leave before the commencement of Eid Al Fitr holidays, then you may have to obtain fourteen (14) days (two weeks) of annual leave instead of nine (9) days or ten (10) days of annual leave.


Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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