As the country’s new labour law goes into effect on February, some ambiguities remain amid the wait for executive regulation clarification. Hazem Balbaa spoke with Arabian Business to clarify some of the legalities.
The UAE business community has been attempting to prepare
for the introduction of the country’s new labour law on Wednesday, but there
has been uncertainty regarding how it will impact the number of annual leave
days that employees are entitled to, with some suggesting that the new law
represents an increase in time off.
However, while the new labour law has made significant
changes in some areas, the number of leave days remains unchanged from the
current 30 days per year, Hazem Balbaa, litigation associate, BSA Ahmad Bin
Hezeem & Associates LLP confirmed to Arabian Business.
“The number of days for an employee’s annual leave has not
changed. Under the old labour law, an employee was also entitled to 30 days of
annual leave given that the employee completes at least one year of service
with its employer,” said Balbaa.
“Article 29 of Law No. 33/2021 on Regulation of Labour
Relations [the new labour law] provides that an employee is entitled to an
annual leave with full pay of not less than 30 days for each year of their
service,” he explained.
Still, HR professionals told Arabian Business that some
ambiguity remains on several aspects of the law’s implementation, especially
when it comes to the annual leave days.
“It’s quite grey and open to interpretation at the moment on
many aspects of the law. I believe we’ll get more clarity from [February 2]
onwards and we will be updated accordingly,” Sara Maria Boueri, senior HR
director at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, told Arabian
“I am still waiting for clarification on whether the 30 days
of annual leave are 30 calendar days or 30 working days, however it makes more
sense that it is 30 calendar days,” she added, explaining that if is calculated
per working days it would mean “eight extra days per employee per year that the
finance department needs to account for.”
Questions also abound on whether annual leave days can be
carried into the next calendar year, if not taken during the specified time
period. Balbaa clarifies this, noting: “The new labour law, in Article 29(4),
makes it clear that an employee should use their annual leave in the year of
“With that being said, it does not bar an employee from
carrying over the balance of their annual leave to the following year, subject
to the company’s internal regulations and procedures. From the wording of the
Article 29, it can be the case whereby an employer refuses to have any of its
employees carry over any number of days of their annual leave to the following
year,” he added.
Federal Decree-Law No 33 of 2021 governing employment
relations, will introduce several amendments to the labour law, including
anti-discrimination clauses, flexible contracts, more favourable end-of-service
terms, and longer maternity and compassionate leaves – all of which are aimed
at making the country a more attractive place to work and entice talent.
Regarding ambiguities with the new law, experts said that
its implementation is pending executive regulations, which should clarify any
“It is essential to note that there still remains great
uncertainty in regard to the implementation of the new Labour Law as the law
relies heavily on the Executive Regulations that are yet to be issued. However,
it is obvious that the legislator in its recent amendments attempts to balance
the interests of both the employee and the employer,” said Balbaa.
As the private sector prepares to implement the new law,
Boueri said, “the main thing HR departments need to manage and prepare for are
the changes in the financial liability on companies due to the changes in the
“Other than financial liabilities which pose the biggest threat, I believe HR heads should treat the labour law change as a chance to shift away from the status quo and get rid of certain policies they still abide by that have become outdated or inefficient to the business operation. It’s a good excuse to stop and reset,” she added.
Changes to the DIFC Employment Law serve to clarify ambiguities...
Did you know that you’re actually meant to get time-and-a-half...
Please click on the link below to view PDF file:...
The Federal Tax Authority has published a guide that details...
Les Emirats Arabes Unis (EAU) ont adopté un nouveau régime...
The UAE has recently introduced the corporate tax law, reshaping...
The UAE has established itself as a global business hub,...
Corporate lawyers Michael Kortbawi and Mahmoud Kreidie recently spoke with...
Partner and Head of Tax, Shamma Al Falahi recently spoke...
Senior associate, Bassel Boutros, recently spoke to Arabian Business about...
In the dynamic commercial landscape of Saudi Arabia, where time...
In a significant development, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Chairman of the Dubai Integrated Economic...
The UAE has recently introduced the corporate tax law, reshaping the nation’s fiscal landscape. This comprehensive article focuses on free...
The UAE legislator has approved cheques, as a mechanism to provide exceptional protection which other commercial tools do not benefit...
Corporate lawyers Michael Kortbawi and Mahmoud Kreidie recently spoke with Al Arabiya News on the increase of scams in the...
With soaring property prices, timeshares could become an attractive affordable option for a luxury holiday home in Dubai, as such...
In a bid to fortify the growth and sustainability of family-owned businesses in Dubai, the Dubai Centre for Family Businesses,...
Partner and Head of Tax, Shamma Al Falahi recently spoke with Finance Middle East regarding the tax landscape in the...
In this article we look at the most recent changes to Fertility Law in the UAE, moving the country closer...
Written for the Oath Magazine, the following case focus provides commentary on the high profile cross-border legal feud between Astalia...
Recently, the General Authority of Dubai Court of Cassation issued a new legal principle under its Decision no. 4 of...