New UAE Labour Law explained: What workers need to know about annual, sick, and maternity leaves

The UAE has issued the new Labour Law, which made several changes regarding annual, sick, and maternity leaves. In this regard, employers need to be aware of the new regulations so they can comply. Keep in mind that every company needs to follow employment law so they can work legally and avoid penalties and risks.

In this article, you are going to gain more understanding about the new rules about annual, sick, and maternity leaves. Moreover, you will know why having a partner is the best option for navigating legislation in the UAE effectively. Let us observe:

  1. What are leaves in the Labour Law?
  2. What is the maternity pay and leave?
  3. When was the new Labour Law issued?
  4. What are the new provisions about maternity leave?
  5. What is the new position about annual leaves?
  6. How did the sick leave change according to the new Labour Law?
  7. What are some new leaves in the UAE Labour Law?
  8. How can Connect Resources assist you with understanding the UAE Labour Law?

1. What are leaves in the Labour Law?

Every employee needs to enjoy a great work-life balance to be productive and have a healthy life. For this reason, the UAE, in its effort to enforce legal views aimed to maintain the mental health of employees, has released new guidelines regarding leaves.

Therefore, employers need to know how these leaves are applied in several situations. Some of the changes were made to annual, sick, and maternity leaves.

As an employer in the UAE, you need to know how to manage these leaves and which changes were made. Thus, your internal HR team should research the new regulation to implement these modifications in your current policies.

However, if you do not know how to learn about the new Labour Law, you can always rely on an expert partner. On Connect Resources, we have a team of specialists who are always up-to-date with the rules and standards in the UAE. You can receive advice and consultancy from our experts whenever you need it.

2. What are the annual, sick, and maternity leaves?

Employees should go to work according to the schedule they have. When they have to be absent for any reason, it is called a leave. In the UAE there are several types of leaves depending on the reason behind the absence. However, annual, sick, and maternity leaves are the most commonly used.

2.1 What is maternity leave?

Maternity leave is a benefit that female employees should receive when they have a baby. However, it is essential to note that this benefit changes across countries. In fact, some countries do not offer this particular benefit at all.

Nevertheless, employees in the UAE are entitled to maternity leave as per the Labour Law. It is a benefit that they can enjoy and a time they can use to rest after they have had their babies. In addition, female employees should also receive maternity pay.

Thus, they are able to stay in their houses receiving their duly payment, while they recover so they can get back to work.

2.2 What is sick leave?

Whenever an employee cannot go to work due to sickness, they have to request sick leave. In the UAE this is a benefit that employees have. As we mentioned before, not all countries grant sick leaves to employees, so it is important to learn about the conditions in the UAE.

If you are a foreign employer, perhaps this rule may be new to you. Nevertheless, you have to follow it and have a strong HR team that learns about it.

2.3 How can an employee have an annual leave?

Annual leave is also known as a vacation period for an employee. Every employee has the right to leave the job for a particular time to rest, travel, or do any other thing that they want. In some countries, the annual leave may be a month, and in others can be longer or shorter.

In the UAE, the provisions regarding annual leave have changed. For this reason, you need to know what are the modifications so you can explain to your employees how they can use their annual leave.

2.4 What happens if an employer refuses to grant leaves?

Employees in the UAE have their responsibilities, but they also can enjoy several benefits. This is according to the UAE Labour Law. The Government takes very seriously that employers follow the regulations. Therefore, if an employer does not follow the law, they may face consequences.

Penalties may vary depending on the infraction, but in some cases, they would be required to pay a fine. As you can see, this can be detrimental to your business. Moreover, your image as an employer would be affected and you may lose your ability to attract candidates since they will not see you as a potential employer.

Therefore, you have to be aware of the rules regarding leaves and instruct your employees on how to use them.

3. When was the new Labour Law issued?

The new UAE Labour Law that contains these new modifications to annual, sick, and maternity leaves are recent. According to the statement of the UAE Government, these new modifications started to be effective on February 2nd, 2022.

Thus, as an employer, you need to review your current policies and procedures to ensure they comply with the new legislation. It is worth noting that this change to the law that governs labour relations is the bigger one since 1980.

Moreover, these changes are designed to enhance employment rights. Additionally, it is to boost competitiveness among employers in the UAE. Employees will now have more options when it comes to choosing the best company to work for.

Consequently, this helps to attract more talent to the region, which is already known for welcoming world-class professionals who are looking to have a better quality of life. Some of the most notable changes are the following:

  • Leave entitlements
  • Discrimination laws
  • Termination of employment
  • Flexible and part-time working arrangements

As you can see, this legislative framework had several changes. So, as an employer, it is necessary to stay up-to-date to ensure the optimal performance of your workforce and to decrease the risk to your company.

In addition, would you like to start working in the UAE as a foreigner? Check out our employment visa services. We can make this process smooth and quick so you can focus on preparing for your trip and applying for the best jobs in the country.

4. What are the new provisions about maternity leave?

Since the local authority has modified the leave entitlements, it is essential to know the changes to annual, sick, and maternity leaves.

According to the new UAE Labour Law, the provisions of the maternity leave are as follows:

  • Increase maternity leave to 60 days
  • Maternity pay will be divided as follows: 45 days at 100% pay, and 15 days at 50% pay
  • Female employees do not have to comply with a minimum qualifying requirement
  • Women who have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth are eligible for this benefit if the event happened after six months of pregnancy
  • If the employee suffers from an illness related to the pregnancy, she will receive 45 additional days of unpaid leave
  • If the employee’s child has a disability, she will receive 30 additional days of paid leave and 30 additional days of unpaid leave
  • Mothers can request one hour every day for the first six months for breastfeeding after they have returned to work
  • Female employees can request maternity leave and combine it with any other leave such as vacations
  • It is important to mention that a company cannot dismiss an employee for using maternity leave

It is worth noting that if the employee uses the maternity leave to work for another company, the employer has the right to reclaim the paid leaves.

4.1 What were the previous provisions about maternity leave?

In the previous Labour Law, the rules established that the female employee could only enjoy this benefit as long as she has over one year of service. In addition, the period was shorter, since it only granted 45 days of leave to the employee.

4.2 What are the provisions for paternity leave?

The provisions about paternity leave remained unchanged. Male employees whose partner has had a baby can take up to five days of leave. The employee can use them all together, or in any order he wants. However, this has to be in the first six months of the birth of the child.

5. What is the new position about annual leaves?

The new modifications to annual, sick, and maternity leaves provide more rights for employees. Regarding annual leaves the changes are as follows:

  • Basic entitlements regarding the annual leave remain the same: two days per month (first year of employment) and 30 calendar days from the second year of service onwards.
  • Employees do not have the right to carry annual leaves to the next year. Thus, they have to receive the agreement of the employer to take forward unused annual leaves and payment in lieu
  • Holidays on termination: payment on lieu should be at the basic salary only

5.1 What were the previous provisions about annual leave?

In the previous law, employees were able to carry forward their unused annual leaves. Thus, they could combine their leaves and be absent from work for a longer time. Nevertheless, this is no longer an option and employees can only do this if the employer agrees to it.

6. How did the sick leave change according to the new Labour Law?

When it comes to annual, sick, and maternity leaves, the new UAE Labour Law is very easy to follow. You just have to learn about the changes to each entitlement. Concerning the sick leave, here we have the provisions of the Labour Law:

  • Employees can enjoy 90 days of sick leave per year
  • The sick leave is only available after the probationary period
  • The salary payment for sick leave is as follows: 15 days of 100% pay, 30 days of 50% pay, and 45 days of unpaid leave.
  • Employees can use their pay leave continuous or intermittent
  • During the probationary period, employees can receive an unpaid sick leave subject to the employer’s approval
  • Employees that have misconduct that has caused the illness are not entitled to paid sick leave. Some examples can be the consumption of narcotics
  • If the employee did not follow the safety instructions and this caused an illness, he/she is not entitled to a paid sick leave
  • Employers are not allowed to dismiss employees while they are on sick leave. However, if the employee does not return after 90 days of the sick leave, the employer can give them a termination notice

Have you wondered if employees can leave their job without notice according to the new UAE Labour Law? Here is the answer.

7. What are some of the new leaves in the UAE Labour Law?

The previous UAE Labour Law did not have any entitlements about the study leave and compassionate leave. These are a new part of the legislation, and are as follows:

  • Study leave: Employees that have more than 2 years of service can receive 10 days of study leave per year. However, the law does not specify if they are paid or unpaid.
  • Compassionate leave: In the event of a death of a spouse, the employee has the right to five days’ leave. And in the case of the death of a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, or grandchild, they can request three days’ leave.

8. How can Connect Resources assist you with understanding the UAE Labour Law?

On Connect Resources, we have the best Human Resources experts who are always up-to-date with the newest regulations to help your business remain compliant. In addition, we provide international workers with the best advice on how to protect themselves and look after their rights in the UAE.

With more than 20 years in the UAE’s market, we are your best choice when it comes to services such as payroll outsourcing, visa services, and more.

Get in contact with us to find out more about our HR solutions. Our services extend to the following countries:

On Connect Resources, we have a team of HR experts ready to assist you with the new UAE Labour Law. As soon as you contact us, we will provide you with the best advice on the annual, sick, and maternity leaves, as well as any other matter relating to the UAE legislation. Call us at +971 43 316 688 to talk to one of our representatives, or send us an email if you prefer to contact@connectresources.com.

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