Can I be asked to work remotely when I am away on leave? I just applied for annual leave and my boss has asked me to carry my laptop to do some work “if required”. Can you advise if this is legal?
: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a private mainland company in the UAE. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 On the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Employment Law’) are applicable. It should be noted that the employer may not call upon an employee to work during the annual leave even though the Employment Law is silent pertaining to the employee’s obligation to work during annual leave.
Further, an employer and employee may mutually agree on the terms and conditions of the employee working during his or her annual leave. Based on the same, the employer may have to pay salary and additionally 50 (fifty) per cent of the employee’s basic 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 wage for normal working days plus a supplement of at least (50) fifty per cent of his basic wage for that day.”
Therefore, based on the aforementioned provision of law, you may work on your annual leave if you voluntarily agree with your employer. However, it is prudent on your part to claim from your employer additional pay as mentioned in Article 28(2) of the Employment if you intend to work during annual leave on instructions of your employer. Further, if you agree, the employer may stipulate specific working hours for you to work remotely during your annual leave. This is in accordance with Article 17(6) (a) of the Employment Law, which states, “If the employee wants to perform work remotely, whether inside or outside the UAE and with the consent of the Employer, the Employer may stipulate specific working hours."
You may contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization for further clarification regarding the said matter.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta and Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India.
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