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Vacation and Leave Policies

Understand the regulations on vacation and other types of leave in Bahrain

Holiday leave

In Bahrain, employees are entitled to 30 working days of paid annual leave for every year of service, as per Article 58 of the Bahraini Labour Law. This leave accrues at the rate of 2.5 days for each completed month of work. To be eligible for the full 30 days, an employee must have completed at least one year of continuous service with the employer. Employees who have not completed a year of service are still entitled to prorated annual leave based on their length of employment. Employers must ensure employees take at least 15 days of their annual leave each year, including a minimum of 6 consecutive days.

Scheduling Vacation Leave

Employers have the primary right to determine the timing of employee annual leave. They must schedule leave in a way that aligns with the company's operational needs and requirements. While employers hold scheduling authority, they should ideally consider employee preferences when feasible.

Important Considerations

Employees cannot waive their right to annual leave entirely. However, they may receive cash compensation instead of taking some of their leave days. Employers may carry over unused leave days to the following year, but specific policies vary by company.

Public holidays

Bahrain observes a range of public holidays that are a mix of religious and national celebrations.

Religious Holidays

  • Eid Al-Fitr: Marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Celebrated for three to four days with feasting, prayers, and family gatherings.
  • Eid Al-Adha: The "Festival of Sacrifice," commemorating Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son. It's a four-day celebration involving prayers, animal sacrifice, and giving gifts.
  • Arafat Day & Eid Al-Adha: Arafat Day falls on the day before Eid Al-Adha and marks a significant day of the Hajj pilgrimage.
  • Islamic New Year (Hijri New Year): Marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
  • Ashura: A two-day observance in the Islamic calendar, significant for both Sunni and Shia Muslims, with distinct meanings for each group.
  • Prophet Muhammad's Birthday: Celebrates the birth of Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

National Holidays

  • National Day: Celebrated on December 16th to commemorate Bahrain's independence from British rule in 1971.
  • Accession Day: Observed on December 17th, marking the day the current King of Bahrain, His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, ascended to the throne.

Important Notes

  • The exact dates of Islamic holidays are determined by the lunar calendar and can vary slightly from year to year.
  • Government offices and many businesses are closed during public holidays.

Types of leave

In Bahrain, employees are entitled to various types of leave as per the Bahrain Labour Law for the Private Sector (Law No. 36 of 2012).

Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to 30 working days of paid annual leave for each completed year of service. The leave accrues at a rate of 2.5 days for each completed month of work. Employees with less than a year of service are entitled to prorated leave. The scheduling of the leave is determined by the employer, taking into account business needs.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is granted with pay based on the duration of the illness. For the first 15 days, full pay is given. For the next 20 days, half pay is given. For the final 20 days, no pay is given. A medical certificate from a doctor approved by the employer is required.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 60 days of paid maternity leave, which can be taken before and/or after childbirth. This is applicable to employees who have completed one year of service with the employer.

Other Types of Leave

Muslim employees who have completed five years of service are entitled to a one-time, 14-day paid leave to perform Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Bahraini fathers may be granted a short period of paid paternity leave, typically around three days. Employees may be granted a few days of paid leave in case of death in their immediate family. Employees may also be eligible for leave to pursue further education or training, subject to company policies.

Important Considerations

Public holidays are not counted as part of annual or other types of leave. Many employers may offer additional types of leave or more generous entitlements than the minimum stipulated by law. Always check your employment contract and company HR policies. In certain circumstances, employees may be able to negotiate unpaid leave with their employer.

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