UAE: You are entitled to compensatory days off, extra salary for working on official holidays

Where compensatory leave is not allowed, a monetary compensation of 150 per cent of the employee's remuneration must be granted


Ashish Mehta

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Photo: File
Photo: File

Published: Sun 12 Dec 2021, 10:55 AM

Question. I am employed with a mainland firm in Dubai. I worked during the UAE National Day break. I understand I am entitled to compensatory leaves. However, my boss says that I can’t combine the compensatory leaves with the weekend. Is this true? Can my boss dictate when I can claim the compensatory off?

Answer. Following your queries, we presume that your employment is subject to the provisions of Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the Employment Law).

By Article 81 of the Employment Law, an employee who is required to work on holidays is entitled to receive compensatory leave for the number of days worked. He/she is also entitled to monetary compensation amounting to 50 per cent of remuneration. Where compensatory leave is not allowed, a monetary compensation of 150 per cent of the employee’s remuneration must be granted. The said Article 81 reads as follows.

“Article (81):

If exigencies of work necessitate that the employee work on holidays or rest days against which he receives full or partial pay he shall be compensated in lieu thereof with increase in pay by 50 per cent of his wage, but if he has not been compensated for the same with a leave, the employer shall pay him an increase to his basic wage equivalent to 150 per cent of the days of work.”


Pursuant to the above, you may prevail upon your employer to grant you compensatory leave for the number of days you had to work during the holidays along with monetary compensation.

Further to your second question, it may be noted that the Employment Law is silent on how the compensatory leave may be availed. Considering this, it may be understood that the compensatory days of leave may be determined mutually by the employer and employee. You may therefore seek to amicably resolve the matter with your employer on these lines.

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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