UAE jobs: Can I be fired while on sick leave?

KT reader asks if it is possible to take the maximum number of sick days off at a stretch


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 9 Oct 2022, 10:39 AM

Last updated: Sun 9 Oct 2022, 3:32 PM

Question: I work in a Dubai-based company. Can you explain the rules around taking sick leaves in the UAE? I have been unwell for a while, and need a full medical check-up to understand what's wrong with my health. Can I take the maximum number of sick leaves at a stretch for this purpose? How do I apply for it and what are the documents I need to submit? Will I lose my job during this period?

Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland company in Dubai. It is also assumed that you have completed your mandatory probation period with your employer. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Employment Law’) are applicable.

In the UAE, an employee may avail 90 days of sick leave in a year once the probation period is completed. This includes 15 days of sick leave with full salary; subsequent 30 days with half-salary and the remaining 45, without any pay. This is in accordance with Article 31(3) of the Employment Law, which states: "An employee who completes his probationary period shall be entitled to a sick leave not exceeding 90 days, successive or otherwise, in respect of each year of service, to be calculated as follows:

a. The first (15) fifteen days with full pay;

b. The next (30) thirty days with half pay;

c. Subsequent period without pay."

Further, an employee needs to inform the employer regarding the illness within three working days and submit a medical report. This is in accordance with Article 31(1) of the Employment Law, which states, “An employee who contracts an illness that is not a work injury shall report his illness to his employer, or his representative, within a maximum of three working days and shall submit a medical report about his condition from the Medical Institution."

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may avail 90 days of sick leave at a stretch, and you may have to submit a medical report/certificate to your employer within three working days from the day you are ill and undergoing medical treatment.

An employer may not terminate an employee while he or she is on sick leave. This is in accordance with Article 46 of the Employment Law, which states: “The employer may not terminate the employee for medical unfitness, before the employee exhausts all his legal leaves, and any agreement contrary to this shall be void, even if it preceded the entry into force of the provisions of this Decree-Law."


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