UAE law: Can employer object or decide when and how I can take annual leave?

KT reader wants to know if employees can split their leave


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 1 Jan 2023, 10:40 AM

Last updated: Sun 1 Jan 2023, 3:13 PM

Question: I want to split my annual leave and visit my family in my home country every 3-4 months. But the employer insists on taking leave in one go during summer when business activity has slowed down. Can my employer force me to decide when and how much leave I should take? Please guide.

Response: We assume that your employment is subject to the provisions of the UAE’s Federal Decree-Law No (33) of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the “Employment Law”).

Pursuant to your question, reference may be made to clause 4 of Article 29 of the Employment Law. The provisions thereof read as follows: “ARTICLE (29) ANNUAL LEAVE

4. The employee shall use his leave in the year of entitlement. The employer may fix the dates of leave according to the work requirements and in agreement with the employee or rotate leaves among employee for the smooth progress of work, and shall notify the employee of the date of his leave at least (1) one month before the same.”

Following the Employment Law provisions, noted above, employers may determine the dates of leave in agreement with their employees based on work requirements at the establishment/ office so that progress of work at the concerned establishment/ office is smooth and seamless. Accordingly, employers may also rotate leave among employees. Employers are further obliged to notify the dates of leave at least one month prior to the commencement date of the leave.

Therefore, although annual leaves are to be determined by mutual agreement of the employer and the employee, it is the employer’s duty to ensure such leave durations are determined with due consideration of the other factors as mentioned above.

Pursuant to your question, your employer may not force you to take annual leave during a particular time. Rather, this must be determined by mutual agreement between you and your employer and in consideration of the other applicable factors regarding the smooth functioning of the establishment/ office you are working. It is therefore advisable for you to resolve this issue with your employer, using amicable means.

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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