I am employed by a Dubai-based firm. I worked during the Eid Al Adha break. What does the new UAE employment law say about taking days off in lieu of this and monetary compensation? Can I take all four days off at once? Can I club the compensatory days off with my annual leave?
Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a firm which is situated in mainland Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of the Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law') and those of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022') are applicable.
In the UAE, an employer may assign work to an employee during public holidays. However, in such instances, the employer needs to grant the employee with compensatory leave for each day of work or pay additional salary. This is in accordance with Article 28(2) of the Employment Law, which states: "Should the work circumstances require the employee be employed on holidays, the employee shall be compensated with a substitute rest day for each day worked or be paid his wage for normal working days plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of his basic wage for that day."
Further, the Employment Law is silent on combining annual leave with compensatory days off. Annual leave may be combined with bereaved, parental and unpaid leaves. This is in accordance with Article 21 (5) of the Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022: "Subject to the provisions of Article 32 of the Decree Law the bereavement leave, parental leave, annual leave and unpaid leave may be combined."
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you are entitled for compensatory leave if you work on public holidays. If your employer does not grant you compensatory leave, you are entitled to additional pay. It may be at the discretion of the employer to schedule your compensatory leave either at different intervals or continuously at once. Therefore, you may request your employer to grant you four days of compensatory leave for working during the Eid Al Adha break. Further, as the Employment Law is silent on combining annual leave with compensatory days off, you may request your employer to grant the same to you.
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