Q: My wife is working for a private hospital as a lab receptionist. She is getting a monthly salary of Dh3,500. She is seven months pregnant and due to her medical condition, her doctor advised her to take complete rest for the next three to four months. To avoid any conflict with her employer, she is thinking of resigning from her job without serving one-month notice period due to her medical condition since she has been admitted in the hospital. Upon discussion with the HR manager, my wife has been informed by her employer that she should pay one-month salary for not serving her notice period. Can they make such a claim as per UAE labour law?
A: We assume that your wife is employed by a hospital based in the mainland UAE and therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’) shall be applicable. As per the provisions of the Employment Law, it may be noted that an employee who has completed more than three months of service after the completion of probation period is entitled to sick leave for a period not exceeding 90 days. This is in accordance with Article 83 (2) of the Employment Law which states: “If the employee has completed more than three months after the probation period in continuous service of the employer and falls ill, he shall be entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days whether continuous or otherwise, in respect of every year of service.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, your wife is entitled to sick leave not exceeding 90 days wherein she should be paid full salary for the first 15 days, half salary for the subsequent 30 days and without any salary for the remaining 45 days.
An employee who resigns from his employment due to an illness before the lapse of the first 45 days from the total 90 days of sick leave is entitled for salary to be paid by the employer for the first 45 days of the sick leave provided a medical practitioner certifies that the resignation is due to illness. This is in accordance with Article 86 of the Employment Law.
Based on the provisions of the Employment Law, it is advised that your wife may avail her sick leave on her doctor’s recommendation by informing her employer in writing and thereafter, resigning within a few days of availing sick leave (but not after 45 days of such leave). Since your wife is resigning from her employment due to an illness, she may not be under an obligation to serve notice period to her employer. Further, it may be noted that since the termination of the employment contract is due to illness of your wife, your wife’s employer may not claim one-month salary for not serving the notice period.