UAE law: Can I combine sick leaves with annual ones?
Find out if availing such leaves can result in termination from the company
Question: I have just been diagnosed with a serious illness that will require months of treatment. I am employed with a Dubai-based company. Can you tell me about sick leaves and what’s the maximum I can take? Can I combine them with annual leaves? I must have taken two-three sick leaves in my six years of service. Do unused sick leaves get accumulated? If I take a long leave of absence (paid + unpaid leaves), can the company fire me?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you are employed by a mainland company based in the emirate of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (Employment Law) are applicable.
It should be noted that in the UAE, an employee who has completed more than three months of employment after the completion of his or her probation period is entitled for sick leave with full salary for 15 days; half salary for the next 30; and the subsequent period without any pay. This is in accordance with Article 83 of the Employment Law, which states: “1. During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave.
2. If the employee spends over three months after completion of the probationary period, in the continuous service of employer, and falls sick during this period, he becomes entitled to a sick leave not more than 90 days either continuous or intermittent per each year or service, computed as follows:-
A. The first fifteen days with full pay.
B. The next thirty days, with half pay.
c. The subsequent period, without pay.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, you may apply for long-term sick leave with your employer in writing.
Further, the Employment Law is silent pertaining to merging of sick and annual leaves. However, you and your employer may mutually agree to do so. This is in accordance with Article 77 of the Employment Law, which states: “The annual leave period is deemed to include such holidays as prescribed by law or as agreed to, and any other periods of sickness, occurred during this leave and is considered as part thereof.”
Apart from the above, the sick leaves that are unused may not be accumulated. However, your employer may have provisions in its internal HR policies to carry forward the sick leave.
Your employer may not be in a position to terminate your employment if you avail long-term sick leave. Further, an employee cannot be terminated from his employment while he is on leave. This is in accordance with Article 90 of the Employment Law, which states: “Without prejudice to cases where the employer has the right to dismiss the employee without notice or gratuity as prescribed herein, the employer may not dismiss an employee or serve him with a notice of dismissal during his leave as is provided for in this section.”
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: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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