Eid: A guide for GCC private sector employers

Employment Update

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With the upcoming festival of Eid Al-Adha, employers in the region need to be mindful of the requirements around holidays, whilst also managing employee expectations and balancing the needs of the business. This article provides guidance for private sector employers in the GCC on frequently asked questions in relation to the upcoming Eid holiday and other public holidays.

The official Eid dates 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 respective authorities. Generally, employees in the public sector are entitled to more generous holidays than the private sector.

Actions for employers

In order to manage employee expectations, particularly given that the exact dates of the Islamic holidays in GCC can change at short notice then we recommend that employers:

  • Implement leave policies which clearly set out official holiday entitlements together with clear guidance on which holidays are subject to change and overtime requirements if employees are required to work on such holidays
  • Consider in advance whether time off in lieu will be offered to employees if a public holiday falls on the weekend (where this is not already required by law)
  • Consider whether any additional holidays will be offered such as Christmas day, Gregorian New Year's day (in countries where this is not an official holiday)
What are the dates for Eid Al Adha in 2017? UAE KSA Kuwait Oman Bahrain Qatar
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has declared Thursday 31 August to Saturday 2 September as an official paid holiday for all workers in the private sector to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day. It has been announced that, for the private sector, Friday 1 September to Monday 4 September is the official holiday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day. In respect of employees in the banking sector in KSA, the holidays have been declared as Tuesday 29 August to Tuesday 5 September. In Kuwait, the Civil Service Commission has announced that Thursday 31 August to Monday 4 September will be the official holiday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day. In Oman, the Ministry of Manpower has announced that Thursday 31 August to Monday 4 September is the official holiday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day. In Bahrain it has been announced that Friday 1st September to Sunday 3 September will be the official holiday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha. In Qatar, the Emiri Diwan has announced that Thursday 31 August to Thursday 7 September is the official holiday to celebrate Eid Al-Adha in respect of all employees in the public sector. The Qatar Central Bank Governor will announce the start of the holiday in respect of employees working in the banking sector, however it is anticipated that such employees, along with the rest of the private sector will receive three days' holiday from Friday 1 September to Sunday 3 September inclusive.
What public holidays do employers have to provide employees?

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

  • New Hijiri Year - 1 Day
  • Gregorian New Year - 1 Day
  • Eid Al-Fitr - 2 Days
  • Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day - 3 Days
  • Prophet Mohammad's Birthday Anniversary - 1 Day
  • Isra and Mi'raj - 1 Day
  • National Day - 1 Day
  • 'Martyrs' Day' or Commemoration Day - 1 Day

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

  • Eid Al-Fitr - 3 Days
  • National Day - 1 Day
  • Eid Al-Adha and Arafat Day - 4 Days

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

  • New Hijiri Year - 1 Day
  • Israa and Mi'raj - 1 Day
  • Eid Al-Fitr - 3 Days
  • Day preceding Eid Al-Adha - 1 Day
  • Eid Al-Adha - 3 Days
  • Prophet Mohammad's Birthday Anniversary - 1 Day
  • National Day - 1 Day
  • Liberation Day - 1 Day
  • Gregorian New Year - 1 Day
Employees in the private sector in Oman are entitled to public holidays as may be specified by a decision of the Minister of Manpower. Employees in the private sector in Bahrain are entitled to public holidays as may be decided by the Council of Ministers.

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

  • Eid Al-Fitr - 3 Days
  • Eid Al-Adha - 3 Days
  • Independence Day - 1 Day
  • 3 working days to be specified by the employer
The Eid 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 respective authority. The Eid 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 respective authority.
Can I require an employee to work on a public holiday? If so, is the employee entitled to time off in lieu / financial compensation? Yes, although employers should bear in mind of the religious significance of some of the holidays. Yes, although employers should bear in mind of the religious significance of some of the holidays. Yes, although employers should bear in mind of the religious significance of some of the holidays. Yes, although employers should bear in mind the religious significance of some of the holidays. Yes, although employers should bear in mind of the religious significance of some of the holidays. Yes, 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:

  • Compensatory leave (i.e. time off in lieu) together with a bonus equal to 50% of his/her remuneration; or
  • A bonus equal to 150% of his/ her remuneration
Employers should be aware that under the Saudi Labour Law all hours worked during Eid holidays are considered overtime hours. Employees working during this time are therefore entitled to be paid for each hour, their hourly wage plus 50% of the basic wage.

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

  • Compensatory leave (i.e. time off in lieu); and
  • Remuneration of twice the employee's daily wage

Where you require an employee to do so, you must provide that employee in respect of the days worked:

  • Compensatory leave (i.e. time off in lieu); or
  • Remuneration of not less than 125% of the employee's gross daily wage

Where you require an employee to do so, you must provide that employee in respect of the days worked:

  • Compensatory leave (i.e. time off in lieu); or
  • The employee's daily wage plus an additional payment of not less than 150% of the employee's daily wage
Where you require an employee to do so, you must provide that employee in respect of the days worked: the employee's daily basic wage plus an additional payment of not less than 25% of the employee's daily basic wage.
Senior and managerial employees are also entitled to overtime if they are required to work on a public holiday.
Do employers have to give compensation or time off in lieu when a public holiday falls on the weekend? No No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Comments 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. Employers are not obliged to extend the holiday when it falls on the weekend. Most employers do choose to offer days off in lieu, but it is entirely at their discretion. When a public holiday falls on a weekend an employee is entitled to double their basic wage and a day off in lieu. When a public holiday falls on the weekend an employee is entitled to a day in off lieu. When a public holiday falls on the weekend an employee is entitled to a day off in lieu. When a public holiday falls on the weekend an employee is entitled to a day off in lieu.