UAE Holiday Pay Rules

Holiday pay rates in United Arab Emirates

Public holidays for employees in the private sector

Employees in the private sector in the UAE are currently entitled to the following public holidays:

  • New Hijiri Year - 1 Day
  • New Year's Day - 1 Day
  • Eid Al-Fitr - 2 Days
  • Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day - 3 Days
  • National Day - 1 Day

With the exception of New Year's Day and National Day, public holidays are scheduled according to the Islamic calendar, meaning their exact dates may not be known until they are announced (often at short notice) by the Ministry of Labour.

Public Holidays in United Arab Emirates for 2024

Can I require an employee to work on a public holiday? If so, is the employee entitled to time off in lieu / financial compensation?

You can require an employee to work on a public holiday, although employers should bear in mind of the religious significance of some of the holidays.

Where you require an employee to work on a public holiday, you must provide that employee in respect of the days worked with either:

  1. compensatory leave (i.e. time off in lieu) together with a bonus equal to 50 per cent of his/her remuneration; or
  2. a bonus equal to 150 per cent of his/ her remuneration.

Senior and managerial employees are also entitled to overtime if they are required to work on a public holiday.

Compensation or time off in lieu when a public holiday falls on the weekend

When a public holiday falls on the weekend (or any other non-working day) an employee is not entitled to compensation or time off in lieu.

In practice, some companies do offer time off in lieu where a public holidays falls on the weekend but this is entirely discretionary.


While every care is taken that the information above is correct, it is provided only as background information and companies should look to government advice if unsure about rules and laws relating to holiday pay and absence.

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