UAE: Can employer deduct employee’s salary for extending annual leave due to emergency?

Can the worker file a complaint if the company refused to adjust the holiday credit?


Ashish Mehta

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Published: Sun 26 May 2024, 9:21 AM

Last updated: Sun 26 May 2024, 9:56 PM

Question: I work for a mainland company. I went on leave for a month and returned to Dubai, but resumed work seven days late due to some urgent work in my home country. I also informed the employer and he approved it. But the company deducted a seven-day salary despite me having some leave credits in my account. The company refused to adjust my leave, so can I file a complaint against the employer? What are my rights?

Answer: In the UAE, an employee who does not report to work upon completion of his or her annual leave or any leave without a valid reason may not be entitled to salary for the period he or she is on leave after the expiry of the approved annual leave or any other leave.

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This is in accordance with Article 34 of the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations, which states: “An, employee who does not report to work after the end of his leave without good cause shall not be entitled to his salary throughout the period of his absence after the end of the leave.”

Additionally, if both the employer and the employee agree, and if the employer's bylaws specifically address yearly leave, the employee may carry forward his or her leave to the following year.

This is in accordance with Article 29(5) of the UAE Employment Law, which states: “An employee may, with the consent of the employer and based on the establishment bylaws, carry over his annual leave balance or days thereof to the next year.”

However, the UAE Employment Law or its subsequent ministerial resolutions are not clear pertaining to whether an employee can adjust his balance of annual leave, in the event that he or she takes an additional vacation immediately after his or her approved leave expires.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it is not clear whether your employer has acknowledged in writing that there will be no salary deduction in case of extending the leave, or if the additional days taken due to an emergency will be adjusted for the annual leave. If your employer has not confirmed in writing that your salary will not be deducted for seven days of additional leave upon completion of your approved leave, then the employer may deduct your salary for the said period of seven days.

However, if your employer’s HR policy mentions that an employer may avail additional leave immediately upon completion of approved annual leave in case of emergency and such leave is adjusted later, then your employer may not deduct your salary for the emergency leave you've taken.

You may approach your employer and request not to deduct your salary for the emergency leave you availed upon completion of your approved annual leave and adjust the same with the annual leave that you still haven't taken.

Moreover, you may also seek further advice from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and an independent legal advisor in the UAE on this matter.

Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations is applicable in this case.

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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