If you’re off sick from work on Thursday and then again on Sunday, you’ll be taking more sick leave than you may realise…

It’s widely known that the UAE labour law allows for 15 days of fully paid sick leave, but we’ve just discovered a slight catch – if you are sick before and after your off-days or a public holiday, those days will still be considered sick leave.

So, for instance, if your weekend is Friday and Saturday and you get hit with the flu on Thursday and take Thursday and Sunday off, you will be taking four days sick leave (even though you’re only taking two working days to recover). 

The good news is that, after you’ve completed nine months at a company in the UAE, you can actually take 45 paid sick days in a year – but 30 of those will be at half pay.

We called the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and they confirmed that the off-days as sick-days system is in fact the law. They also told us that an employee can actually take 90 days of sick leave without it affecting their employment (however 45 of those days will be at no pay).

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We also checked in with Michael Kortbawi, a partner at Dubai law firm BSA Ahmed Bin Hezeem & Associates, and he confirmed the fact:

“Even though this is not clearly mentioned in the law, weekends and holidays are included in the calculation of the above days,” he explained.

“Obviously, an employer can decide to waive it but this does not usually happen due to the fact that 45 days sick leave in a year is substantial.”

“DIFC Law is more generous in this regard and has specifically allowed for the following: An employee is entitled to sick leave not exceeding a maximum of sixty (60) working days in aggregate in any twelve (12) month period.

Here is exactly what the general UAE labour law says about sick leave:

1. During the probationary period, the employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave.

2. If the employee spends over three months after completion of the probationary period, in the continuous service of employer, and falls sick during this period, he becomes entitled to a sick leave not more than 90 days either continuous or intermittent per each year or service, computed as follows:

A. The first fifteen days with full pay.

B. The next thirty days, with half pay.

C. The subsequent period, without pay.

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Photo: Getty Images