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Compensatory days off in UAE for working on public holidays: What you need to know


A KT reader who worked on January 1, asks how they can avail their compensatory off

Question: I had to work on January 1, 2023, which is an official holiday, with the understanding that I would get a compensatory off. How is this off determined? I ask because previously my compensatory off ‘lapsed’ according to my HR. Can I take it when I please? Is there a period during which I must avail this? Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland private company in the UAE and as you performed your work for your employer on an official public holiday. In the UAE, the first day of the Gregorian calendar is declared an official public holiday. Therefore, the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (MoHRE) declared that January 1, 2023, is a public holiday. An employer may call upon an employee to work on an official public holiday. However, in such case the employer should grant the employee compensatory leave for working on a public holiday or a full day’s salary and additionally 50 per cent of the basic salary for making an employee work on a public holiday. This is in accordance with Article 28 of the Employment Law, which states, the employee shall be entitled to official leave with full pay on public holidays determined by the decision of the Cabinet.