17 thoughts on “How Some Emirati Employees Abuse the Sick Leave

  1. A very interesting article and I am sure it will create a lot of debates. My two cents here would be, the law technically provides you with 15 days full-sick leave, and although Emirati has taken the majority of those sick leaves, an employee may think in terms of getting more paid vacation time. Or perhpas – despite healthcare system – they are really sick (and needed some days off). But some actually take sick leave to look for another job.

    I once read an interesting article about, if you have a cold, or a flu, just take the day off. You are not going to productive – for the most part – and perhaps you could infect others. I personally would agree to a day off if you have gotten a cold. You are human after all. Does not mean you are lazy by any means. There are many reasons why possibly any person would take a day off, taking you child to the doctor, a cold, having severe menstrual pain for some women, aside from others.

    And the issue with statistics, it only gives you numbers and not context all the time. For example, I would have like to know what was, lets say the top 3 reason an Emirati employee has taken a sick leave? Not having this answer makes you question the survey and if it was conducted in a comprehensive manner. I agree though, that the statistics point out to what you have discussed:
    i.e.
    – More Emiratis taking sick leave
    – Younger than 35 accounted to 45%
    But we don't know why these are the numbers, and like you said we need to delve into it. I would like to get in touch, if possible, with your colleague?

    My experience, I have been working fo 4 months, and needed 1 day sick leave and once a half day. Why? Firstly, I had a cold and even people at work told me to go home. 2nd time, I had an important doctor appointment for an inury – which I delayed- for a long time, and just had to take half day off (and the dcotor was only available during weekdays, during normal work hours). So isn't taking almost 2 days off in a span of 4 months of a new job seems a bit questionable? If mentioned as such, then yes, but with the explanations, you get the aha, makes sense.

    Anyways, good topic!

  2. iamshaima iamshaima says:

    Hello Amna, Thanks for your extensive feedback. Where I used to work (private multinational firm) it was a policy that one or two days of sick leave did not require a doctors note. One, I actually find that efficient because not all sick people need a doctors for cases like flu or headache etc. Secondly, not having a doctors note, actually makes you take less of these sick leaves because then you wouldnt want ur boss thinking that you're taking advantage, so in one year, you end up taking less sick leave days. (i hope i explained that right)

    Also, with regards to statistics, I should've probably mentioned that the main sick leave reasons pertain to diaorrhea, constipation, Flu! This survey was actually complied by the company itself (which my friend then used for her dissertation) so i trust the stats are correct, albeit will need further analysis.

    There is no denying there is an evident misuse of the sick leave system, and personal expereinces along with that of my friends indicate a disturbing trend in young Emiratis. Laziness does prevail in many places and in this case, they most they will face in consequence is either get transfered to another department.

  3. Rawan says:

    This was very interesting. We have the same problem in Kuwait. People skip school/college/work by taking sick leaves 'maratheeyas'. I honestly think the reason behind it is pure laziness.

  4. Interesting article.
    Nice to read criticism about emirati labor problems from emirati person. A good point here is given to the government who is working hard for the nationalisation of jobs. Although the effort is well recorded, the help and assistance from emirati youth is somehow contradicting: where some succeed and mostly more and more local employees fail to fulfill their job requirements.

    I have once wrote abt the topic In Arabic
    ( hartakat.wordpress.com ) and I find it a debatable topic. We need to show the real situation without any exaggeration or subjectivity.

    Finally, showing success stories from emratis youth and innovative persons is an introductory space to have a fruitful debate in this regard.

  5. iamshaima iamshaima says:

    Salam Aleikom Kareem,
    Thank you for your feedback. Yes this is a problem that needs addresing via more studies as it has been going on for a very long time. I will defintly read your article inshaAllah and I hope more people speak up as opposed to just gossiping about their colleagues for days to come.

  6. BuRashid says:

    I believe most don't take work seriously. They come from wealthy families and have the job to pass time
    I know on the other hand great productive people such as the ones mentioned in the article and others who are successful in their jobs and recognized internationally
    I think generalizing is not fair, however the careless percentage ruin it for the others

  7. iamshaima iamshaima says:

    True, however many dont have to come from wealthy families as well. I've encountered many Emiratis who get emplyed in important positions and cant even draft a proper letter, mind you they graduated from universities in the UK and US! As you said, generalisation is not fair, but its safe to claim that both sides exist. Thanks for passing by.

  8. Saleh Hamed says:

    Interesting that you stopped quoting the figures from the study just as you were getting to the gender ratios.

  9. Hasan Sajwani says:

    A very interesting article indeed, and I agree with Amna Al Haddad where a bit of more in depth analysis couldn’t have added 5 more stars to this article. Still amazingly written and thought about. Thank you!

  10. iamshaima iamshaima says:

    Thank you Hassan. Word limit restricted further elaboration. Inshallah will look into another article with detailed approach now that I;ve introduced the general idea. Thanks

  11. FATMA says:

    I like your article. It discusses a serious issue. Your are right that many people have the ideal the Emirates are lazy and not productive that why they prefer to hire other nationalities. Also, when Emirates get hired they will be given low level work. As to sick leave, it can not be denied that there are minor segment of locals who misuses the sick leave. Some people think that taking a sick leave will be better that being in a work whole day and not doing anything as their employers don’t care of them. I know some people who do this because of above reason. However, there are many examples of hard working and talented UAE nationals as you mentioned.

  12. Giorgiotedx says:

    We do have similar problems with jobs in the Public Sector in Italy. Sometime the safety net of working in a bureaucratic environment pushes individuals to take advantage of the system. What is required is a stronger SME gov support ( that it's on it's way ). Keep in mind that some of the previously listed success stories would not have been possible without entrepreneurs having both a secured day job and the time to pursue their aspirations.

  13. Adam says:

    The creation if a quasi welfare state in the v govt v employment sector didn't help. simple universal fact it's of you know you can get b away with it you'll do it.

    Even of it's done v worth the c right intentions. Forcing, organisations to create roles to fill quotas creates issues for both employee and employer. Competing on the c open market will cause short term, passion, but, long term, gain as education and workforce v wikl adapt.

    Re the v study. Would be, good to see, more, stats. Reasons given, long and short term leave ratios. ratio of nationals in the company etc

  14. Adam says:

    Apologies. The above comment was written on my phone and a combination of predictive text and the fact you can't scroll down to see what you've typed resulted in the gibberish above…Fuller version below!

    The creation of a quasi welfare state in the government employment sector doesn't help. It's a simple universal fact that if you know you can get away with it you'll do it. That applies all over the world.

    Even if it's done with the right intentions. Forcing organisations to create roles for the sake of filling quotas creates issues for both employee and employer. I'd be willing to bet that if you audited all of the government jobs against the need for those jobs you'd be slashing employment in the govt sector by around 40%.

    Competing on the open market will cause short term pain but long term gain as ambitions, expectations, the education system and people themselves will have to adapt to gain meaningful employment. As someone who employs people it always surprised me how ill equipped most people who went to school in the UAE (not just nationals) were to cope with the rigours of work.

    The ethos of working your way to the top seems to have been lost (again not just nationals – I've come across many people in the UAE with a sense of entitlement because they have a degree). In other places in the world it is expected you will come in and do the menial job for a couple of years to learn how your profession works from the ground up. If you can't get a job doing what you want, you get a job doing what you need until you can find the right position. Again in a country with very high wealth levels I think there is an issue with unreasonably high expectations (same issue in Singapore for example) from the local workforce.

    I agree that HR is a problem here. But its a problem for all nationalities. It's generally very below par and I don't think too many organisations here understand the role of HR – which in itself causes issues.

    Re the study. I agree with Amna, It would be good to see more, stats. Reasons given for leave, long term vs short term leave ratiosm the ratio of nationals in the company (eg – if it was 60% staffed by nationals then 60% of sick leave would be a reasonable figure. If it was 5% of Nationals taking 60% of sick days then its an issue).

    All in all, this is something that needs to be discussed in an intelligent way and as an expat I'm glad to see that this is starting to happen. Blaming an us vs them scenario is not helpful. The real issue – as always – is complex and multi-faceted.

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