Working on a Holiday? Know the Law in UAE


It can be frustrating to work on a holiday while others are relaxing and having fun. Did you know that the UAE law protects you if your employer requires you to work during the holidays? Sometimes, working on a holiday is inevitable because of your line of work. However, other times your employer might break the rules and require you to work. There are several holidays celebrated throughout the year in the UAE, and it can be frustrating to miss out on all or most of them because of work.

Understanding Employment Contracts and Wages

Before taking any job, you should sign an employment contract. This document explains the type of work, the date to begin and conclude, and the amount of wages. A worker can be employed on probation for at least 6 months; after this period, the employer can terminate or retain the employee. If the worker completes this probation successfully, this period is seen as part of his/her service.

You may continue working even after the expiry of your contract. The original contract is deemed to have been extended. Wages should be paid in legal tender on working days and in the nation’s currency.

Employment Laws in the UAE

employee law



The Labor Law, also known as Federal Law no 8 of 1980, regulates the labor rights of workers in the private sector. It governs all employees working in the UAE, both citizens and expats. However, some employees are exempt from the law and have to follow a different set of regulations.

Leave with Full Pay

According to the employment law, all employees are entitled to paid leave on holidays. If it’s inevitable for you to take leave on such days because of the nature of your work, you are entitled to get compensatory leave on any other day and also receive additional benefits.

Where your work circumstances require you to work on rest days or holidays, where you’re entitled to full or partial pay, you shall receive compensatory leave in line with such days. You shall also receive a bonus equal to 50% of your remuneration. It is necessary to understand the law so that your employer doesn’t take advantage of you.

You can seek experts such as legal consultants in Dubai to guide you on your rights. If your employer does not give you compensatory leave, you are entitled to a bonus pay of 150% of your basic remuneration based on the days you worked.

Daily Working Hours

The Employment Law states the number of hours employees should work in a day and week. It states that each adult worker shall work for a maximum of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week. An expert in a law firm in Dubai helps you to understand that not all jobs are equal. For instance, commercial establishments, cafeterias, hotels, security services, etc. can increase their workday to 9 hours.

These working hours can be reduced anytime by the resolution of the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs because of the hazardous work environment. Normal working hours are also reduced during the holy month of Ramadan.

Daily working hours should be regulated so that employees do not work for 5 consecutive hours without having breaks for rest, prayer, or meals. These breaks should not be less than an hour and should not be included in the working hours. However, this does not apply to workshops and factories where employees work in successive shifts (day and night).


According to the Employment Law every employee is entitled to leave with full pay on these holidays;

·         New Year’s Day for 1 day (Higra)

·         New Year’s Day for 1 day (Gregorian)

·         Lesser Bairam for 2 days.

·         Greater Bairam and eve for 3 days.

·         National Day for 1 day.

·         Al Isra and Al Mi’raj for 1 day.

·         Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday for 1 day.

Holidays according to the law or by agreement and any other days of leave due to illness or on annual leave it shall be considered a fundamental part of the holiday. All employees are entitled to receive a housing allowance and basic wages where applicable according to the workers’ leave.

Where it is necessary for an employee to work on all days of his annual leave and if these days are not included in the following year, the employer should pay him his normal wages and an allowance in place of the leave. An employee should not be made to work on the days of his annual leave for 2 consecutive years. Each employee is entitled to special leave once in his working duration for pilgrimage.

Working during holidays is inevitable for some professionals, but there are laws on how it should be conducted. UAE Employment Law states how you should be compensated if you work during holidays and how many hours in a day or week you should work.