• Jul 012024
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Sick Leave Without a Medical Certificate in UAE - Is it Allowed?

No, sick leave without a medical certificate is not allowed in the UAE according to current labor laws.

Understanding Sick Leave Without a Medical Certificate in UAE

In the UAE, the labor laws are stringent regarding sick leave policies. To qualify for sick leave, employees must provide a medical certificate from a recognized medical institution.

This requirement ensures that the system is not abused and that employees genuinely in need of time off due to health issues are supported.

UAE Sick Leave Policy: Key Points

  1. Requirement of Medical Certificate

    • According to Article 31 of the UAE Labour Law (Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021), an employee must submit a medical certificate within 48 hours of the first day of illness to qualify for paid sick leave.
    • The certificate should be issued by a competent medical authority recognized by UAE laws, ensuring its authenticity and relevance.
  2. Probationary Period Rules

    • During the probationary period, as stipulated in Article 37 of the UAE Labour Law, employees can request sick leave, but it will be unpaid and still requires a medical certificate.
    • Any paid sick leave during probation is subject to the employer's discretion, emphasizing the importance of clear communication and understanding of company policies during this period.
  3. Sick Leave Duration and Pay Structure

    • Employees are entitled to a maximum of 90 days of sick leave per year as outlined in Article 31. This period can be taken consecutively or intermittently.
    • The pay structure for sick leave is divided into:
      • Full pay for the first 15 days.
      • Half pay for the next 30 days.
      • Unpaid leave for the remaining 45 days.
    • This tiered approach ensures that employees have financial support during the initial stages of their illness while also encouraging a timely return to work.
  4. Misconduct and Safety Violations

    • Sick leave is not granted if the illness is due to employee misconduct, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as mentioned in Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law.
    • Employees who do not adhere to company or safety regulations may also be denied sick leave, reinforcing the need for compliance with workplace rules.

Also Read: Maternity Leave in UAE | Paternity Leave in UAE

Implications of Not Providing a Medical Certificate

If an employee fails to provide a medical certificate, the following consequences apply:

  • No Paid Sick Leave: The employee will not be entitled to paid sick leave without a valid medical certificate, as per Article 31.
  • Possible Disciplinary Action: Employers may take disciplinary action if an employee is found to be abusing sick leave policies. This can include warnings, deductions in pay, or other penalties as defined in the company's internal regulations.
  • Risk of Termination: Persistent failure to comply with sick leave documentation requirements can lead to termination of employment under Article 120, which allows dismissal for repeated non-compliance or fraudulent use of sick leave.

Managing Sick Leave Efficiently

For both employers and employees, understanding and adhering to the sick leave policy is crucial. Here are some tips:

  1. Employees:

    • Always ensure to visit a certified medical professional and obtain the necessary documentation promptly.
    • Communicate clearly and promptly with your employer about your health status and expected duration of absence, following the procedure outlined in your employment contract and company policy.
    • Keep copies of all medical certificates and related documents for your records.
  2. Employers:

    • Have a clear sick leave policy in place and communicate it effectively to all employees. Ensure this policy is aligned with the UAE Labour Law.
    • Maintain a fair and supportive environment for employees who need to take sick leave, ensuring compliance with labor laws.
    • Train HR personnel and managers on how to handle sick leave requests and maintain proper documentation to avoid legal issues.

UAE Labour Law Articles Relevant to Sick Leave

  1. Article 31: Details the requirements for sick leave, including the submission of a medical certificate and the pay structure for sick leave.
  2. Article 37: Discusses probationary period rules, including the conditions under which sick leave can be granted during this period.
  3. Article 120: Specifies grounds for dismissal, including misconduct and non-compliance with company and safety regulations.

Email Template for Sick Leave

Subject: Request for Sick Leave – [Your Full Name]

Dear [Employer/Manager’s Name],

I hope this message finds you well. I am writing to inform you that, unfortunately, I have fallen ill and need to take a sick leave to recover. My doctor has advised me to rest and focus on my health for the next [number of days] days.

I have attached my medical certificate, as per our company’s policy, which provides the necessary details of my condition and the recommended period of rest.

During my absence, I will ensure that my responsibilities are covered. I have briefed [Colleague’s Name] about my current projects and tasks. [Colleague’s Name] has kindly agreed to oversee my duties during this period. Should any urgent matters arise, I will be available for consultation via email.

I apologize for any inconvenience my absence may cause and appreciate your understanding and support during this time. I aim to return to work fully recovered by [return date].

Thank you for your consideration. Please let me know if any further information or arrangements are needed.

Best regards,

[Your Full Name]

[Your Position]

[Your Contact Information]

Who Approves Sick Leave Requests? HR? or Line Manager?

The responsibility for accepting or rejecting sick leave requests can vary depending on your company's policies and procedures. Typically, this responsibility falls either on the line manager or the HR department.

In many companies, the line manager is directly responsible for approving or denying sick leave requests, as they are closely familiar with their team's workload and immediate needs. In other organizations, the HR department handles all leave requests to ensure consistency and compliance with company policies and labor laws.

If you are unsure who to submit your sick leave request to, refer to your company’s employee handbook or reach out directly to your HR department for clarification. This will help ensure your request is processed smoothly and without delay.

For the most efficient handling of your request, follow these steps:

  1. Consult Your Employee Handbook: It usually outlines the procedure and specifies who handles sick leave requests.
  2. Contact Your HR Department: If the handbook is unclear or you need further guidance, your HR department can provide the necessary information.

This ensures you are following the correct protocol and helps prevent any misunderstandings or delays in processing your sick leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use annual leave instead of sick leave if I don’t have a medical certificate?

Yes, you can request to use your annual leave days instead of sick leave if you don't have a medical certificate, but this is subject to your employer's approval.

What happens if I cannot obtain a medical certificate within 48 hours?

If you cannot obtain a medical certificate within 48 hours, inform your employer immediately and provide the certificate as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in your sick leave being unpaid.

Can my employer deny my sick leave request if I don't provide a medical certificate?

Yes, your employer can deny your sick leave request if you fail to provide a medical certificate, as it is a requirement under UAE labor law.

Does Sick Leave Roll Over to the Next Year or Can It Be Cashed Out?

No, sick leave does not roll over to the next year in the UAE. Any unused sick leave is forfeited at the end of the year and cannot be cashed out.

Here is a table that summarizes the sick leave entitlements for employees in the UAE:

Sick Leave Entitlement Details
Maximum Sick Leave 90 days per year
First 15 Days Full pay
Next 30 Days Half pay
Remaining 45 Days Unpaid
Roll Over Not allowed
Cash Out Not allowed

Is there any exception to the medical certificate requirement for minor illnesses?

No, there are no exceptions. A medical certificate is required for all instances of sick leave to ensure compliance with UAE labor law.

What should I do if my employer refuses to accept my medical certificate?

If your employer refuses to accept your medical certificate, you can contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) for assistance and guidance on resolving the issue.

Can I take unpaid sick leave during my probation period without a medical certificate?

No, even unpaid sick leave during the probation period requires a medical certificate from a recognized medical institution.

Are there any specific medical institutions whose certificates are accepted for sick leave in the UAE?

Certificates from any licensed and recognized medical institution in the UAE are accepted. It’s advisable to visit a reputable healthcare provider to ensure your certificate is valid.

What are my rights if I am terminated for not providing a medical certificate?

If you are terminated for not providing a medical certificate, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) or take legal action if you believe the termination was unjust.

Can I take sick leave for mental health reasons without a medical certificate?

No, sick leave for any health reasons, including mental health, requires a medical certificate to be valid under UAE labor law.

Can my employer verify the authenticity of my medical certificate?

Yes, your employer has the right to verify the authenticity of your medical certificate with the issuing medical institution to ensure its validity.


In conclusion, while sick leave is a critical right for employees, it must be supported by a medical certificate to be valid in the UAE. This ensures that the policy is not misused and that employees genuinely in need of time off for health reasons are appropriately supported. Employers and employees alike must understand and adhere to these regulations to maintain a healthy and compliant workplace.

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