Sharjah worker terminated and forced to use balance of annual leave

My employer has given me a termination letter because of a reducing company workload. Now they are forcing me to use up the balance of my annual leave, which totals 15 days. I don’t want to do this. They are mentioning Article 76 of UAE Law and say this allows employers to force employees to go on leave based on their wishes. Is it legal? What should I do? PT, Sharjah

The exact wording of Article 76 of UAE Labour Law is: “The employer may at his discretion determine the date for commencement of annual leaves and, when necessary, he may decide to divide the leave in two parts at the most, except in cases of juveniles where holiday may not be divided in parts”. This applies during the course of normal employment and I have been advised that the situation is different during a notice period. If someone is on an unlimited contract they must be given 30 days’ notice and paid during this period. Even if their services are not required the employee must still be paid. Article 79 states: “The employee is entitled to receive cash in lieu of annual leave days not availed by him, if he was dismissed or if he left the service, after the period of notice stipulated by law.” This shows that PT is entitled to receive pay in lieu of days of holiday accrued but not taken and that he is not obliged to take any days off during the notice period if he does not wish to do so. Furthermore, any end of service gratuity due should be calculated from the start of employment to the end of the full notice period.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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