'Am I entitled to lieu days if I work over the Eid holidays?'

Under the UAE labour law, employees must be compensated with either time off or an additional payment

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , April 12  – 2021 :-  Ramadan decoration at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News/Online/Standalone
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Question: I work in retail and our stores are open every day. My boss has said that staff will need to work as usual over Eid and other public holidays, as we need to be open and fully staffed. I understand that, but it seems unfair as other staff who work in our administration office get time off.

Can we be made to work on holidays and if we do, are we entitled to other days off or extra money? BD, Dubai

Answer: The UAE labour law is clear and states than all employees are entitled to time off work during a public holiday.

However, if they need to work, they must be compensated for doing so. This has always been the case and is unchanged under the new labour law, which came into force in February 2022.

Watch: New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

The new UAE labour law, Article (28), titled Public Holidays and Worker’s Work during Holidays, states: “1. The worker shall be entitled to official days with full pay on public holidays, which are defined by a resolution of the Cabinet. 2. If work conditions require that the worker works during any of the public holidays, the employer shall compensate him with another day off for each day, on which he works during the holiday, or pay him the wage for that day according to the wage established for the normal working days, plus an increase of not less than (50%) fifty per cent of the basic wage for that day.”

Ideally, any employee who agrees to work on a public holiday should discuss and agree the compensation method beforehand.

The employer should provide full clarity to all employees and confirm to them how they will be compensated for working on official UAE public holidays. As the law states, this can be as time off in lieu or an additional payment.

If the employer fails to provide the appropriate compensation, employees can register a case against the company with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for breach of the labour law.

Q: I am British and have been living in Abu Dhabi for seven years. I still pay UK National Insurance contributions, but have a question about receiving treatment on the National Health Service in the UK as I will be there for two months over the summer.

Some friends say that I should receive free treatment as I hold a British passport and paid into the system for years, but others say that I am not entitled to anything any more. Can you confirm the correct situation for us, please? GE, Abu Dhabi

A: If a UK resident leaves the country and is working overseas and not paying income tax, they will generally be deemed to be non-resident for tax purposes.

A person does not become a resident again by spending two months in the country. Non-residents are no longer eligible for free treatment under the NHS.

The payment of voluntary National Insurance contributions counts towards eligibility for the State Pension only.

It has nothing to do with being able to use the NHS while not a resident in the UK, unless you are resident in certain European Economic Area countries. The same applies in respect of any income received in the UK, such as rental income, if not a UK tax resident,

Generally, emergency treatment is free for anyone who requires it, but there may be a charge for associated treatments, even in the same hospital.

Elective treatment is also chargeable, including visits to a GP. Each district health authority will have its own guidelines, but they are unlikely to vary by much.

To have full eligibility to treatment without charge, you would have to take up full-time residency in the UK again.

The NHS is purely residency-based and not linked to nationality or any tax payments.

Q: We currently live in Dubai and my husband has just got a new job offer. We will be moving to Ras Al Khaimah, where the company is based. He sponsors me and our son. Our visas were renewed nine months ago. Will we need to change our visas as well? RV, Dubai

A: The residency visas for RV and her son will need to change as well as her husband’s. They cannot be retained or transferred.

As a first step, he will need to cancel the visas of the people he sponsors before his visa can be cancelled. He will need to have a new visa from his next employer and can then apply for replacement visas for his wife and son as their sponsor.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 30 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

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

Updated: April 23, 2023, 12:53 PM