Anyone can fall sick unexpectedly and if you are working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), it is important to know its labour laws as it will help you clear the doubts regarding sick leave. The UAE Labour Law spells out details about sick leave, maternity leave, safety standards, among other information related to employee well-being and employment as a whole.
The UAE Labour Law provides workers in the UAE with up to 90 days of continuous or intermittent sick leave per year. However, this leave comes with specific provisions.
For this reason, we have compiled a detailed review of the UAE Labour Law regarding sick leave. Read on to know all about sick leave UAE Labour Law.
What Does Labour Law Say about Sick Leave?
The UAE Labour Law provides clear provisions for sick leave for all employees working in its jurisdiction. Several articles are domiciled under the Labour Law.
So without much ado, let’s find out what each article provides with regards to sick leave.
The following questions will serve as a guide to finding out what the UAE Labour Law say about sick leave:
When Should an Employee Inform about Sick Leave?
According to Article (82), if an employee falls sick for reasons other than labour injury he must report his illness within a period of two days at most and the employer must take the necessary measures to have him medically checked up to ascertain illness.
Once the illness is ascertained, the employer can then grant the employee sick leave to get medical attention as well as recuperate fully before the resumption of work.
Can an Employee Take Sick Leave during the Probation period? And How Many Days Sick Leaves are You Entitled To?
Article (83) spells out whether an employee can take sick leave during his probation period. It states;
During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave.
If the employee spends over three months after completion of the probationary period, in continuous service of the employer, and falls sick during this period, he becomes entitled to sick leave, not more than 90 days either continuous or intermittent per pear or service, computed as follows:
- The first fifteen days with full pay
- The next thirty days with half pay
- The subsequent period, without pay
According to this Article (83), an employee under probation is not entitled to any paid sick leave. However, if the employee spends over three months after completion of the probation period, he is entitled to a sick leave not more than 90 days whether continuous or intermitted per each year of service as spelt out above.
Note that the employee taking sick leave must provide evidence of his illness to guarantee sick leave by providing an official medical certificate. The provisions under Article (83) are subject to conditions and, therefore, do not apply on sick leave for occupational illness.
When Am I Not Entitled to Sick Leave?
Article (84) states that pay during sick leave shall not be made if sickness resulted from the misbehaviour of the employee such as consumption of alcohol or narcotics.
Therefore, if your sickness is occasioned by your misbehaviour such as those mentioned, then you won’t be entitled to any wages during the period of your sick leave.
Moreover, if you won’t be entitled to any wages if you are on probation or work for another employer during the period of your sick leave.
What Can Cause Termination After Sick Leave?
According to Article (85), the employer may terminate the services of an employee who fails to resume his duties at the end of such leave as stipulated in Article (82), (83) and (84) hereof, and in such case, the employee shall be entitled to his gratuity in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
So, if you fail to resume your duties at your place of work after the end of sick leave in UAE, the employer is may terminate your employment contract and settle on severance pay as per the provisions of UAE Labour Law.
Can I Resign During My Sick Leave?
As per Article (86), if an employee resigns from service because of illness before the lapse of the first 45 days of the sick leave and the Government Medical Officer or the physician appointed by the employer justifies the cause of resignation, the employer must pay to the employee his remuneration due for the period remaining from the first 45 days referred to above.
According to this provision, you can resign from employment during your sick leave, provided the reason for your resignation is approved by either a government medical officer or physician provided by the employer.
However, your severance wages can be paid only if you resign before the end of the 45 days specified by the law.
Can I Work for Another Employer During My Sick Leave?
As per Article (88), during the annual leave or sick leave provided for hereunder, the employee may not work for another employer; however, if the employer has established that the employee has done this, he shall have the right to terminate the service of an employee without notice and to deprive him of the leave pay due to him.
This provision prohibits working for another employee during the sick leave period and should your employer establish that you are working for another employer during your sick leave, he can terminate your service without notice and deprive you of all payments due to you.
What Can Happen if I Don’t Report to Work after Sick Leave?
Article (89) states that subject to the provisions herein contained, every employee who does not report to duty immediately after expiry of his vacation, shall be deprived of his pay for the period of absence commencing from the day following to the date on which the leave has expired.
Therefore, what happens if you don’t report to work after sick leave is that you are deprived of pay from the date of expiry of sick leave until the date you formally report to work.
Can an Employer Terminate Employee During Sick Leave?
Article (90) states that without prejudice to cases where the employer has the right to dismiss the employee without notice or gratuity as prescribed herein, the employer may not dismiss an employee or serve him with a notice of dismissal during his leave as is provided for in this section.
Basically, this provision prohibits employers to dismiss employees on sick leave. As such, any notice for termination of the employment contract will be deemed null and void.
However, the employer is obligated to terminate the employment contract if the employee has not reported for work after the expiry of sick leave. Under this circumstance, the employee is entitled to full gratuity and severance pay in accordance with the labour law.
However, in the event of a persistent or chronic medical condition or the need for long-term medical attention, an employee can apply for an extended sick leave of up to six months. This can be granted if authorized by a government medical committee or physician provided by the employer after an assessment to ascertain the need for more treatment time.
Is Medical Certificate Required for a One Day Sick Leave in UAE?
The medical certificate for a day of sick leave requirement depends on the company. Some companies in UAE require the employee to submit a sick leave medical certificate from DHA even for a single day of sick leave.
So, if the company you work for requires employees to submit a medical leave certificate, then you must provide it for you to be granted sick leave.
What Happens if I Fall Sick During Annual Holidays?
Should you fall sick during an annual holiday and have a sick leave certificate from concerned authorities, then the sick leave can be considered. However, if you lack acceptable proof of your illness, then your employer may not accept the sick leave application.
This is also true if you fall sick during a public holiday. You must produce a sick leave certificate that is valid and acceptable to your employer.
COVID-19 Positive – Can I Get a Sick Leave?
The Ministry of Human Resources confirmed the necessity of the private sector to fulfil social and legal responsibilities towards employees who contract Coronavirus.
If an employee tests positive for COVID 19, he should be considered a pathological case and will be granted sick leave as per the Federal Law No 8 of 1980.
Are Weekends Included in Sick Leave UAE?
It is widely known that the UAE labour law consents for 15 days of fully paid sick leave. However, what most employees don’t know is that if you fall sick before and after your off-days or on a public holiday, then those days will still be regarded as sick leave.
For example, if your weekend is Friday and Saturday and you fall sick on Thursdays and you take Thursday and Sunday off, it will be considered that you have taken four days’ sick leave – although you are taking only 2 working days to recuperate.
However, if you have been employed for more than 9 months at a company in the UAE, you can legible to take up to 45 paid sick days in a year but with 30 of those days being half pay.
It is always advisable for employees to notify the employer once they fall sick and most importantly submit a medical certificate to guarantee a paid sick leave as spelt out in the UAE Labour Law.