Can Employees Be Compensated for Work during Public Holidays?

26 November 2018

As the national day holidays draw closer, employees across the UAE are gearing up to celebrate the time-off that they will be receiving during the period. Apart from the designated annual leave and sick leave, this is an area of much interest and it would be quite beneficial to remain aware of the specific rights employees are entitled to during the holidays.

Per Article 74 of the Labour Law, Federal Law No 8 of 1980, employees are entitled to paid leave on occasions as specified below:

  • New Year’s Day (One Day)
  • Hijri New Year’s Day (One Day)
  • Eid-Al-Fitr (Two Days)
  • Eid-Al-Adha & Arafat Day (Three Days)
  • Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday (One Day)
  • Isra And Al Miraj (One Day)
  • National Day (One Day)

There may be circumstances where employees may be requested to work during the public holidays, and it is important that both employers and employees alike, are aware of their obligations and rights under the labour law regarding public holiday compensation. Article 81 of the Labour Law answers this concern by stating that workers who work during holidays must be either completely or partially compensated and are entitled to two things:

  1. Substitute leave
  2. Increase in wage amounting to 50% for the period

Alternatively, if substitute leave is not granted, employer shall be required to pay the worker an additional sum to the basic salary amounting to 150% in regards to the days worked.

GERMELA-LOOTAH with its long-standing experienced team of legal consultants is always available to answer your questions and to guide you through any legal issues you may have. For further information or assistance, please contact our colleagues at Germela-Lootah at +971-4-288-8345 or at