UAE: Will employees be compensated if asked to work on National Day holidays?

KT reader asks if compensatory days off or additional salary will be given in such a situation


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 3 Dec 2023, 8:19 AM

Last updated: Sun 3 Dec 2023, 10:09 PM

Question: I work in a private company in Dubai. My weekly off is on Wednesday. The UAE announced December 2, 3 and 4 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) as paid holidays, and I have been asked to work as usual on those days. Will I get three compensatory days off? What's the law?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland company in Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations are applicable.

In the UAE, an employee is eligible for public holidays as per the announcements made by the relevant local authority or the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). This is in accordance with Article 28(1) of the Employment Law, which states, “The employee shall be entitled to official leave with full pay in public holidays determined by decision of the Cabinet.”

Furthermore, if an employee works during public holidays, he or she is eligible for compensatory leave or salary along with a supplement of at least 50 per cent of the basic salary as additional pay. This is in accordance with Article 28(2) of the Employment Law, which states, “Should the work circumstances require that the employee be employed on holidays, the employee shall be compensated with a substitute rest day for each day worked, or be paid his salary for normal working days plus a supplement of at least (50%) fifty per cent of his basic salary for that day.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, if your employer asks you to work on public holidays on the occasion of UAE National Day, then your employer is obligated to grant you 3 days of compensatory leave for working during public holidays. Alternatively, your employer will also pay you an additional salary for working during public holidays along with a supplement of at least 50 per cent of your basic salary instead of allotting you 3 days of compensatory leave.

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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