All About Sick Leave In The UAE

Did you know that if an employee is still on their probationary period, they are not yet entitled to paid sick leave in the UAE? Nor is an employee entitled to pay during sick leave if illness is due to the consumption of alcohol or narcotics.

Whether you are the employee or employer, knowing your legal rights while working in the UAE will help you to determine the best course of action.

Who is entitled to sick leave?

Article 82 of the Federal Law No. 8 of the Labour Law and its Amendments states that as an employee, you are only entitled to take paid sick leave if you have completed a full three months of work after your probationary period. If any sick leave has been used prior to this, the employer has authority to not compensate for the absent days, which can result in a salary deduction.

According to the provision under, Article 83 of the Labour Law, it stipulates that “If the employee has completed more than three months after the probation period in the continuous service of the employer and falls ill, he shall be entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days whether continuous or otherwise, in respect of every year of service. Such leave shall be calculated as follows:”
A. The first fifteen days with full pay
B. The next thirty days with half pay
C. The subsequent period without pay

Thankfully, this means employees’ in the UAE are able to take a total of 15 working days of sick leave and still receive their full salary at month end. A sick leave certificate or medical note will be required by the employer in order for the sick days to be counted, so make sure to keep the doctor’s note or other proof of the medical visit.

However, if any sick leave has been used prior to the lapse of the probationary period, the employer has authority to not compensate for the absent days, which can result in a salary deduction.

Can an employee resign during sick leave?

If the employee resigns due to illness before the end of their first forty five days of sick leave, and the governmental physician or the physician appointed by the employer validates the cause of resignation then yes. The employer must then pay the full salary to the employee up to the forty five days referred to above.

Can an employee be fired on sick leave?

The only instance where an employee can be terminated while on sick leave is if they are caught working for another employer during that same time. The original employer can, without notice, terminate the employee and withhold salary for the duration of the leave.

When can the employer terminate the employee?

The employer can terminate the employee when the employee uses all of their sick leaves that they are entitled to, or if the employee is not able to report back to the workplace. In these cases, the employee is still entitled to their end of service gratuity.

What if the employee does not report back after sick leave?

For employees who decide to not report back to their workplace after sick leave, the employee will have their salary deducted for the days missed. This could also include termination from the employer and a possible labour ban if the employee has absconded (absent for more than one week).

Is Haj (pilgrimage) leave included in sick leave?

According to Article 87 of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 and its Amendments the employee may be granted a one-time special leave through-out his service without pay for the pilgrimage. This leave will not be included in other leaves and may not exceed a thirty day period.

Do you have any Employment concerns in the UAE? For advice on how to move forward, contact us at 04 336 8833 or

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