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When it comes to international employees and their holiday entitlements, there are often many differences between countries.

Understanding the rules and regulations in each country when it comes to employee holiday entitlements is essential for any employer with a global workforce.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the holiday entitlements for Portugal, Malta, the UAE and the UK and explore how employers can ensure they are following the correct regulations.


Employees in Portugal are obligated to take a minimum of 22 working days of holiday leave per year, although many international companies and organisations offer more. If choosing to offer more than 22 days holiday, this must be written in the employees contract.

Holiday leave should be requested in writing, with international employers usually requiring that it is done via email or other electronic means. To ensure that the leave is accepted, employees should inform their employers about holiday leave by April 15th for the whole year in advance. Sometimes employees will have fixed holiday days, which typically relate to national holidays, and this must be detailed in the employment contracts.



Employees in Malta are entitled to a minimum of 14 days of paid annual leave, as mandated by the Maltese Industrial Relations Act (Cap. 452). Employees who have worked for more than a year are entitled to an additional day of leave for every completed year of service.

Employees should request holiday leave with their employer, preferably in writing or email. It is recommended that requests be made at least two weeks in advance to ensure adequate time for the employer to accommodate the request. Employees should also ensure that they are aware of their employer’s policy on holiday leave and any restrictions associated with requesting holiday leave.


The United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a generous amount of paid public holidays, with as many as 20 days off annually.

Private sector employees are allowed to take 30 calendar days off per year, in addition to the UAE’s public holidays. This includes any religious and national holidays that are celebrated in the country.

When it comes to taking holiday leave, employers in the UAE have the right to approve or deny employee requests for vacation. Employers must provide a minimum of seven working days prior notice before an employee begins his/her vacation. However, an employer may reduce this period to three days if the company needs an employee to work overtime. The employer is also responsible for paying wages during the period of holiday leave.

Want to learn more about hiring employees in the UAE? Check out our latest article which covers it all.


The United Kingdom

Employees in the United Kingdom are entitled to 28 days of paid holiday leave per year. This entitlement includes both statutory and contractual holiday rights and is applicable to full-time employees. For part-time employees, their holiday entitlement is based on the number of days worked per year.

Employees should request holiday leave from their employer by submitting a holiday request form or by discussing their request with their employer directly. Employers can set their own policies for when, how and how far in advance holiday requests must be made. Generally, employers will require employees to give adequate notice prior to the start of any holiday period. It is also important to note that employers have the right to refuse or change holiday requests if they are not feasible or practical.


How RHJ Accountants can help

Contact RHJ Law to know more about how holidays entitlements work in Portugal, Malta, UK and UAE. Just get in touch and ask your queries so that our legal team can answer them.
Feel free to get in contact with us if you need assistance with drafting legal agreements for employees, requesting employee insurance, and anything in-between.
Want to start-up an international business? We can help you do this.

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