Can departing UAE worker be paid for annual leave not taken?

I work as an engineer in a Sharjah-based company. I joined the company in May 2016 on an unlimited contract, so my first year of service is already complete. I have now resigned, giving them 30 days’ notice by both email and hard copy. My company has already accepted my resignation. My questions are: am I eligible for salary for annual leave I have not taken and will I get 21 days’ gratuity or not? If my employer refuses to pay this money then what legal action can I take? FA, Sharjah

Article 132 of the UAE Labour Law states that “the worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows: 1) The wage of 21 days for each of the first five years of service …” This is payable pro-rata for partial years over the first 12 months. The law then goes on to say, in Article 137, “should the worker bound by an employment contract with undetermined term leave his work by his own choice after a continuous service of one year at least and three years at most, he shall be entitled to one-third of the end of service gratuity set forth in foregoing Article.” This means that the employee in this scenario is entitled to an end of service gratuity of one third of 21 days, being seven days. This is calculated using basic salary.

If an employee has accrued days of annual leave and not taken them then he is owed payment for these days as part of his annual settlement or can request to take the time during the notice period if the employer permits this. If, for any reason, an employer refuses to make any final payments due, an employee can register a case against them at their local labour office or with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MHRE) directly. The MHRE helpline number is 800 665.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner 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

If you go

The flights
There are various ways of getting to the southern Serengeti in Tanzania from the UAE. The exact route and airstrip depends on your overall trip itinerary and which camp you’re staying at. 
Flydubai flies direct from Dubai to Kilimanjaro International Airport from Dh1,350 return, including taxes; this can be followed by a short flight from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti with Coastal Aviation from about US$700 (Dh2,500) return, including taxes. Kenya Airways, Emirates and Etihad offer flights via Nairobi or Dar es Salaam.