The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is renowned for its flourishing business environment and its promising prospects for both native and foreign employees. Much like any other nation, the UAE possesses distinct legal guidelines to safeguard the interests of its workforce. Among these regulations, a pivotal component concerns the allocation of sick leave, guaranteeing employees sufficient time to recuperate from ailments or medical issues. Nevertheless, a common inquiry frequently emerges: What are the stipulations governing sick leave during the probationary phase?
This article endeavors to elucidate the sick leave entitlement for UAE employees during their probationary period.
Sick Entitlement Provisions in UAE Labour Law
Article 31 of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) 2021 lays out comprehensive guidelines regarding sick leave entitlements, covering essential aspects such as the maximum duration of leave and the method for calculating corresponding compensation.
In the event of a non-work-related illness, employees are required to promptly inform their employer or representative within three working days. Additionally, they must furnish a medical report from a recognized medical institution detailing their condition.
During the probationary period, employees are not entitled to paid sick leave. Nevertheless, the employer may choose to grant unpaid sick leave if substantiated by a medical report from a recognized medical institution certifying the necessity of the leave.
Once the probationary period concludes, employees are eligible for sick leave not exceeding 90 days per year of service. The calculation for sick leave entitlement is as follows:
The initial 15 days are granted with full pay.
The subsequent 30 days are granted with half pay.
Any subsequent sick leave beyond this period is without pay.
In cases where the illness results from the employee’s misconduct, as outlined in the Executive Regulations of the Decree-Law, no wages shall be paid during the duration of sick leave.
If an employee exhausts the sick leave entitlements outlined in this article and fails to report to work, the employer reserves the right to terminate their employment. Nevertheless, the employee retains all entitlements as per the provisions of the Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations.
Sick Leave Policies During Probationary Period
While in the probationary period, employees may request unpaid sick leave, provided they obtain approval from their employer and furnish a medical report from a recognized medical institution affirming the need for the leave.
It’s important to note that these provisions have specific conditions and do not pertain to sick leave stemming from work-related ailments.
Furthermore, paid sick leave is not applicable under the following circumstances:
1. During the probationary phase.
2. When the illness results directly from the employee’s misconduct, such as the use of alcohol or narcotics.
3. If the employee has violated safety directives as outlined in the relevant UAE legislation and the company’s regulations, which the employee has been duly informed of.
Non-Payment of Sick Leave Wages Due to Worker’s Misconduct:
Following Cabinet Resolution No. (1) Of 2022, as outlined in Article 20, it is specified that if a worker’s illness stems directly from their misconduct, as determined by the Executive Regulations of the Decree-Law, they shall not be entitled to receive any wages during their sick leave period. The stipulations outlined in Article (31) of the Decree-Law clarify the following aspects:
Wages during sick leave will not be granted to the worker under the following circumstances:
1. If the ailment arises from the worker’s misconduct, including actions such as alcohol or drug consumption.
2. If the worker breaches the safety instructions mandated by the prevailing laws of the State. These instructions encompass guidelines related to crises, disasters, traffic regulations, or any safety protocols and regulations delineated in the establishment’s policies. The worker must have been duly informed about these instructions and acknowledged their comprehension and commitment.
The enforcement of the provision mentioned in point (a) necessitates the submission of an official report from the relevant State authorities, affirming that the illness resulted from the worker’s misconduct.
By UAE Labour Law, when is it mandatory for employees to notify their employer regarding sick leave?
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Concerning the notification of sick leave to the employer, as per Article 31 of the UAE Labour Law, it is incumbent upon the employee to notify the employer of their illness within a maximum period of three days. Furthermore, the employee must furnish a medical report from a recognized medical institution detailing their medical condition.
Can an employer terminate an employee due to illness?
Regarding the termination of an employee due to sickness, it’s important to understand that an employer is prohibited from ending employment or issuing a termination notice while the employee is on sick leave. However, if the employee exhausts their 90 days of sick leave and is unable to return to work, the employer does have the right to terminate their services. In such a situation, the employee is entitled to receive end-of-service benefits as outlined in labor law.
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Seeking legal assistance from experienced Gulf-registered lawyers in Dubai
UAE, is crucial when dealing with employment issues related to illness. If you are facing concerns related to sick leave, termination, or other matters associated with illness in the workplace, our skilled, registered Dubai lawyers can offer valuable support. They possess a deep understanding of UAE Labor Law and its specific provisions, enabling them to guide you through the legal process and ensure the protection of your rights at every stage.