Question: I am employed by a company on the mainland. I took a month-long leave and returned to Dubai, but due to urgent matters in my home country, I was seven days late in resuming duty. I had informed the employer, and my request was approved. However, the company deducted seven days' salary despite the existence of leave credits in my account. The company declined to adjust my leave. Can I file a complaint against the employer to protect my rights?

Answer: In the UAE, an employee who fails to report to work after the approved leave period, without a valid reason, may not be entitled to salary for the extended period of absence. This is based on Article 34 of the Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations. It stipulates that an employee not reporting to work after the end of the leave without a valid reason shall forfeit salary for the period of absence after the end of the leave.

Moreover, if both the employer and the employee agree and the employer's bylaws explicitly address annual leave, the employee may carry forward the leave to the following year. This is in accordance with Article 29(5) of the UAE Employment Law.

However, the UAE Employment Law and its subsequent ministerial resolutions do not explicitly address whether an employee can adjust the balance of annual leave if they take additional vacation immediately after the approved leave expires.

Based on the aforementioned legal provisions, it is unclear whether your employer has provided written acknowledgment that no salary deduction will occur if leave is extended or if additional days taken due to an emergency will be adjusted for the annual leave. If there is no written confirmation from the employer, they may deduct the salary for the extra leave.

Nevertheless, if the employer's HR policy allows for additional leave immediately after the approved annual leave in case of emergency, and such leave is later adjusted, the employer may not deduct the salary for the emergency leave taken.

You can approach your employer and request that your salary not be deducted for the emergency leave taken after the approved annual leave, and that it be adjusted with the remaining annual leave that you have not utilized. Additionally, seeking guidance from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, as well as an independent legal advisor in the UAE, can provide further clarity on this matter.

Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations is applicable in this context.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is a qualified attorney in Dubai, the United Kingdom, and India. For further details, visit: Queries can be emailed to: or sent to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.