Paid Leave in the UAE

The following information is from the UAE’s Federal Labor Laws. Some individual emirates have differing laws; Sharjah, for instance, mandates maternity leave of at least sixty days, whereas federal law requires at least forty-five.


Maternity Leave

  • Maternity leave with full pay for at least 45 days, provided services to the employer have lasted at least one year.
  • Lasting 18 months after the time of delivery, mothers are entitled to two additional breaks each day to nurse, which shall be considered working hours and thus fully remunerated.
  • Women have the right to extend their maternity leave to a maximum of 100 days without pay.
  • It is unlawful for employers to dismiss a woman while she is on maternity leave.


Sick Leave

After completing three months of work for an employer, workers are entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days, to be paid in accordance to the duration of the leave:

  • 0-15 days: full pay.
  • 16-45 days: half pay.
  • 46-90 days: no pay.


Vacation Leave

Workers are entitled to annual leave, totaling at least two days a month and thirty days a year. Workers are additionally entitled to vacation leave for full pay during the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (Higra): one day.
  • New Year’s Day (Gregorian): one day.
  • Lesser Bairam: two days.
  • Greater Bairam and Eve: three days.
  • Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed: one day.
  • Al Isra and Al Mi’raj: one day.
  • National Day: one day.


Hajj Leave

Employees have special protections should they embark on the Hajj.

  • Employees can take leave of up to 30 days without pay.
  • This period does not count against an employee’s annual leave or any other form of leave.


There are indications that these totals – at least those relating to maternity leave – could be increasing in the near future. In April 2017, the Dubai government announced that Dubai Government employees would be entitled to three months of paid maternity leave. The announcement also mandated that departments of the government must establish a nursery for employees’ children under the age of four.

The Dubai government’s proclamation came just months after the President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, issued Federal Law 17. This new set of laws included an article (number 53) that mandated a three-month paid maternity leave.

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