Is one entitled to Compensation when forced by their employer to take leave ?

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


Leave employment important device worklife sphere

Leave from employment is an important device in the work-life sphere and can be availed by employees to fulfil various ends in their personal as well as professional lives. Company Leave policies are designed to support the operations of organizations whilst also supporting the well-being of employees to ensure the greatest degree of efficiency. Various types of leave include parental leave, sick leave, casual leave, earned leave, etc.

Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labour Relations, popularly known as the ‘UAE Labour Law’, governs the relationship between an employer and employees in the private sector in the United Arab Emirates.

According to the labour laws in force, employees are entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, parental leave, bereavement leave, and leave to complete Hajj. In addition to this, employees are entitled to at least one day of paid rest per week as well as time off work on official holidays. Leave to complete Umrah can only be granted at the discretion of the employer as it is not mandated by the UAE Labour Law.

Article 33 of the UAE Labour Law lays down that an employee can avail of unpaid leave with the consent of the employer, however, this should be an entirely voluntary undertaking by the former and cannot be imposed by the latter.

An essential component of leave from employment is that it is a statutory entitlement to be availed at the employee’s discretion, as per the terms of the employer’s policy. It cannot be forced upon the employee but rather can be availed only after a common consensus between the employer and employee is reached.

If an employee is suspended for a breach of duty, they are still entitled to half their wages during the period of suspension, as laid down by Article 39 of the U.A.E. Labour Law.

The UAE has a Wage Protection System (WPS) in place to ensure the protection of workers and compliance with regulations. Under this system, salaries are transferred to authorized bank accounts of employees. In case of non-payment of wages in cases of forced leave from employment and otherwise, employees may contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Therefore, no employer can force an employee to take unpaid leave against their will. In the event an employee is forced to take an unpaid leave, appropriate redressal can be availed by the employee.

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