A Guide on Statutory Leaves in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

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    Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an international financial centre located in Al Maryah Island and consist of three independent authorities- the Registration Authority(RA), the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts. ADGM provides exceptional service and opportunities for it business community to thrive.  ADGM was established in 2015 pursuant to the Federal Legislation and  Abu Dhabi Legislation including  Abu Dhabi Law No.4 of 2013, as a financial free zone, in the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, with its own civil and commercial laws.

    The leaves granted to employees working in the ADGM (Abu Dhabi Global Market) are as follows:

    • Vacation leave (Annual Leave)
    • Hajj leave
    • Sick leave
    • Maternity leave
    • Paternity leave
    • National Holidays

    Vacation Leave (Annual Leave)

    Subject to section 25 of the Employment Regulation 2019, an employer shall give an employee a minimum paid vacation leave of 20 business days per year to be accrued pro rata for employees who have been employed for at least 90 days.

    1. What happens to unused vacation leaves?

      An Employee is entitled to carry forward accrued but untaken Vacation Leave up to a maximum of 5 Business Days into the next year for a maximum period of 12 months after which the unused leave shall expire.

    2. Does vacation leave include national holidays?

      Vacation Leave is exclusive of National Holidays to which an Employee is entitled.

    3. Can an employee convert the leave in lieu of payment?

      An Employee is not entitled to a payment in lieu of Vacation Leave earned except where:

      • The Employee’s employment is terminated; or
      • The Employer agrees otherwise.
    4. Can an employee claim compensation for unutilized leaves at termination of contract?

      Where an Employee’s employment is terminated, the Employer shall pay the Employee an amount in lieu of Vacation Leave accrued but not taken. If the Employee taken more Vacation Leave than has accrued at the termination date, the Employee shall repay the Employer the corresponding amount.

      Compensation in lieu of Vacation Leave shall be calculated using the Employee’s Daily Wage applicable on the Employee’s last Day of employment.

    National Holidays

    1. Who is entitled to national holidays?

      Every Employee is entitled to the National Holidays that are announced in the UAE for the public sector (if the Employer is a public sector entity) or the private sector (if the Employer is a private sector entity), falling on a Business Day.

    2. Is there any deduction on pay for a public holiday in ADGM?

      An employee is entitled to be paid a daily wage for national holidays.

    3. What will happen if an employee works on a holiday?

      This leave entitled to employees may be replaced by

      • A day in lieu.
      • A payment in lieu; or
      • A pro-rated amount relating to the period of time worked where both the employer and employee so agreed in writing.

    Hajj Leave

    A Muslim Employee, who has completed 1 year or more of continuous employment, shall be entitled, not more than once during the period of employment, to special leave not exceeding 30 Days without pay, to perform the Hajj pilgrimage.

    Sick Leave

    Sick leave is granted for 60 working days per year (calendar year) at the following rate:

    • The first 10 working days: with full pay.
    • The next 20 working days: with half pay.
    • Any subsequent period to a maximum of 30 working days: without pay.
    1. Can an employer terminate an employee for taking more than the allowed sick leave?

      Where an Employee takes more than a total of 60 Business Days of sick leave in any 12-month period, the Employer may terminate the employment immediately with written notice to the Employee unless it’s taken on account of a disability.

    Maternity Leave

    A female employee who has been continuously employed by her employer for at least 12 months may take maternity leave for up to sixty-five (65) working days at the following rate:

    • Full pay for first thirty-three (33) working days; and,
    • Half pay for the next thirty-two (32) days.
    1. Is maternity leave in ADGM based on calendar days or working days?

      Maternity Leave is calculated on working days, excluding weekly off days and any holidays covered by Maternity Leave.

    2. How many days of maternity leave are granted to female workers in ADGM?

      A female employee may take maternity leave for up to sixty-five (65) working days, out of which 33 working days will be fully paid leave and the rest 32 days will be half paid leave.

    3. Is an employee is eligible for paid maternity leave during the first year of service?

      No,  Employee will have been continuously employed with her Employer for at least 12 months preceding the expected or actual week of childbirth.

    4.  Should an employee inform employer in advance before starting maternity leave?

      Employee notifies her Employer in writing that she is pregnant at least 8 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, if requested by the Employer;

      Or notifies her Employer in writing at least 21 Days before the day the Employee proposes to begin her Maternity Leave.

    5. Is maternity leave applicable for the adoption of a child?

      The maternity rights granted under sections 33 and 34 also apply to a female Employee who is adopting a child of less than 3 months old and, in such case, references to childbirth are treated as references to the date of adoption.

    6. Will vacation leave get accrued while employees are on maternity leave?

      Yes, Vacation Leave shall continue to accrue during Maternity Leave.

    7. Is an employee eligible to get compensation for unused maternity leave?

      An employee is not entitled to receive compensation in lieu of accrued but untaken maternity leave.

    8. Can an employer terminate an employee who is on maternity leave?

      An employee who is on maternity leave cannot be terminated by her employer.

    Paternity Leave

    1. Who is eligible for paternity leave?

      An Employee who becomes a father to a newly born child shall be entitled to a minimum Paternity Leave entitlement of 5 Business Days to be taken within 2 months of the date of birth of the child.

    2. Does the employee get full pay?

      During the Employee’s minimum Paternity Leave, the Employer shall pay paternity pay at the Employee’s normal Daily Wage.

    3. Can an employee receive compensation in lieu of paternity leave?

      The Employee cannot receive compensation in lieu of Paternity Leave.

    4. How are national holidays that fall within an employee’s paternity leave treated in ADGM?

      Any National Holidays falling on a Business Day within the Paternity Leave period shall be treated as additional leave thereby having the effect of extending the Paternity Leave by the period of the national holiday.


    At HLB HAMT, we have taken every possible measure to ensure the accuracy of the information provided. However, we cannot accept any liability for errors or omissions that may occur. We would like to emphasize that the content shared in this blog is not exhaustive and should not be considered as the sole source of information. Our guidance aims to provide general information on the topics covered and may not encompass all applicable laws and regulations. Please be aware that the content is subject to change, and it is not intended to serve as a comprehensive summary of legal matters or provide specific legal advice. We recommend consulting with a qualified professional for personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation. Additionally, the information shared in this blog does not constitute a legal opinion or establish a client-professional relationship.

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