Employees who worked on public holiday entitled to paid leave or overtime pay
Public holidays, official government working days and hours are determined by a decision of the UAE Cabinet.
By Ashish Mehta
Published: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 12:00 PM
Last updated: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 3:34 PM
Q-I work for a federal government company in shifts. My company gives me a day off on public holidays only if it falls during my day shift on a weekday. If the public holiday falls when I am on night shift or on a weekend, I don't get any sort of compensation. Is this legally right?
A-It is understood that you work for a federal government company in shifts and your employer grants you a paid leave for a public holiday only if it falls on a day when you are on day shift and on a weekday. Such a leave is not granted if the holiday falls on a weekend or on a day when you are scheduled to work on a night shift, and no compensation is given to you for this.
You have not specified your shift schedules and the type of employment, and we shall therefore assume that you are on a full-time employment and your employment is subject to the Federal Decree Law No. 11 for 2008 On Human Resources in the Federal Government (as amended by Federal Decree Law No. 9 for 2011 and Federal Decree Law No. 17 for 2016), called 'Human Resource Law'; and the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2018 On the Executive Regulations of Human Resources Law in the Federal Government, called the 'Executive Regulation'.
According to the Human Resource Law, public holidays, official government working days and hours are determined by a decision of the UAE Cabinet. The chairman of your federal entity may also make necessary arrangements for flexible working hours and may invoke a shift system as necessary, provided that the total weekly working hours shall not exceed 48 hours. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 74 read with the provisions of Article 75 of the Human Resource Law that read as follows:
"Article 74- 1. Official Government working days and hours are determined by a decision of the Cabinet.
"2. The Chairman of the Federal entity may make necessary arrangements for flexible working hours as needed and within the limits of normal working hours per week."
"Article 75: Public Holidays are determined by a decision of the Cabinet. The decision also designates competent authorities that announce public holidays."
The Executive Regulation further sets forth that when employees are required to work on official holidays, they shall be entitled to receive compensatory leave on some other day or, if applicable, may opt to receive extra compensation for the actual overtime work he performs during these days. However, if the said holiday coincides with a weekend, he is not entitled to any compensation. This is in accordance with the provisions of three clauses of the Article 116 read with the provisions of Article 117 and Article 122 of the Executive Regulation, which are quoted here for reference:
"Article 116: (3)The chairman of the federal entity may introduce a flexible working system as required by work needs and conditions as long as it is within the limits of approved weekly working hour.
"(5) Official holidays for federal entities shall be subject to Cabinet resolutions.
"(6) Except for religious holidays, any other holidays set forth in the proceeding article may be carried over to the beginning or end of the week, if they occur between two working days. The official holiday may not be moved or compensated if it coincides with another holiday or weekend."
Further, Article 117 of the Executive Regulation states that a federal entity may apply a system of shift-based work. The provision reads as follows:
"A Federal Entity may apply a shift system on all or part of the positions or organisational divisions within its structure, depending on its and requirements and nature of work, provided that the total weekly working hours shall not exceed 48 hours."
In accordance with the provisions of Article 122, it may be noted that when an employee is required by his or her superior to work on official holidays, he or she shall be granted paid leaves that are equal to the number of holidays he or she was on duty. Under clause (3) of Article 117, it may be noted that such employee may either choose days of paid leave for the number of days worked during public holidays, or may seek compensation for the actual overtime work performed during the period. The provisions under Article 122 read as follows:
"Compensation for work during official holidays:
1- The direct superior may assign an employee to work during an official holiday if deemed necessary as per work requirements.
"2-An employee who works on official holidays shall be granted days equal to the number of days he works during weekends in compensation. Part of a day shall be considered full day.
"3-An employee who is entitled to overtime pay may choose between being compensated by days equal to the number of days worked on official holidays or receive a payment in compensation for the actual overtime work he performs during official holidays."
In pursuance of these provisions of the Human Resource Law and those of the Executive Regulation, it may be noted that you shall not be entitled to compensation if the public holiday coincides with a weekend. But if a holiday coincides with a weekday when you work on night shifts, you may be entitled to additional days of paid leave or you may also choose to get compensation for overtime work.
You may address your concerns with your supervisor and seek compensatory days off or overtime payment, if your working hours have fallen on public holidays. However, if you feel that your supervisor has not followed the prescribed working hours for its subordinates, you may consult the human resource department of your organisation.
KNOW THE LAW
If a public holiday falls on a weekend, no compensatory day off or overtime pay shall be granted to an employee.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai