UAE Employee Sick Leave
The protection that the law offers to the employees across various sectors reflects the values and the welfare ideals that a country seeks to achieve. The amended law in UAE aims to strike a balance of the interests between the employer and the employee by protecting the employer from excessive absences and at the same time allowing an employee the paid sick leave when the cause is sufficient. The law thus places a check and balance within the system to assure its long-term success.
Sick Leave Entitlements and Rights
Under Article 83 of the UAE Labour Law (Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 as amended) (“UAE Labour Law”) an employee is entitled to a sick leave of not more than 90 days per annum after being in continuous service for a period of three months following the probation period.
The employee shall be paid for the sick leave in the following manner:
- The employee shall be paid his or her full salary for the first 15 days.
- The employee shall be paid his or her half salary for the next 30 days.
- The employee shall not be eligible for any payment for the rest 45 days.
Notification to the Employer
In accordance with the provisions of Article 82 of the UAE Labour Law, the employee has the responsibility to notify the employer of his or her sickness within two days of falling sick if he/she is not able to attend work by reason of such sickness. It is of pertinent consideration to note that the employer has the discretion to put the employee under medical examination to verify the authenticity of the leave report and of the illness. Further, the employer may request the employee to provide the medical report which provides the reason for his or her absence.
Ineligibility for Paid Sick Leave
Though the UAE Labour Law allows an employee to utilise a paid leave for a sufficient cause, there are various circumstances that make them ineligible to apply for the same. Thus, in the following circumstances an employee is not entitled to a paid sick leave under the UAE Labour Law:
- During the probationary period;
- If the illness is caused due to employee’s misconduct, such as consumption of alcohol or drugs; or
- During the sick leave, if the employee works for another employer.
Termination by Employer during Sick Leave
It is settled in law that an employer cannot terminate an employee while he or she is on a sick leave. However, according to Article 85 of the UAE Labour Law, an employer may dismiss an employee if subsequent to the exhaustion of the 90 days sick leave the employee has failed to report back to work. In such cases, the employee is entitled to the gratuity in accordance with the provisions thereof. Further, an employer may terminate the service of the employee if there is sufficient proof of absconding or on the finding that the employee is working for another employer during the sick leave. In both the situations the employee can terminate him or her without notice and can withhold the payments for the duration of the leave.
Resignation during Sick Leave
The employee due to his illness may resign from his employment, provided it is before the first 45 days of the expiry of the sick leave. Meanwhile, the cause of the resignation has to be verified and consented to by a government physician or a physician appointed by the employer. If the employee has sufficient cause for the resignation then he or she is entitled to the wages due for the period remaining from the first 45 days of the sick leave.
The above analysis looks into every aspect of the UAE law regarding the sick entitlements and rights of an employee. As abovementioned, the sick leave does not exceed 90 days per annum and it is an essential requirement that the employee should have worked for a continuous period of three months post probation. It can be conclusively stated that the present regulations dealing with sick leave entitlements in UAE are settled and definite thus ensuring the employees a safe and healthy work place environment.
Adv. Arshadh Malim
Corporate & Commercial – Intellectual Property;
Corporate Restructuring | Labor/Employment & Benefits