'I've resigned from my UAE job - but my boss refuses to acknowledge it'

The National's resident consumer advocate Keren Bobker answers questions on formal notices regarding resignations and requirements for salaries to be directly deposited in banks.

The National's resident consumer advocate Keren Bobker answers questions on formal notices regarding resignations and requirements for salaries to be directly deposited in banks.

I have been employed by a company in Abu Dhabi for over four years on an unlimited contract but I have decided to return to New Zealand. I submitted my resignation both in writing and by email two weeks ago, but although I know my manager has received it, he has not responded and has now gone on holiday. Does my notice period start from the date I submitted my resignation or when the company officially accepts it? EH, Abu Dhabi

According to UAE labour law, you must give your employer formal notice in respect of resignation in accordance with the terms set out in your employment contract, with a minimum 30 days' notice. The law does not require the acceptance of the other party, so as your employer has received your resignation letter and has not objected to it or refused it, then you can consider it accepted and you are now working your notice.

I bought a T-shirt from Groupon on January 4 and the confirmation voucher said to allow four days for delivery. After two weeks I still hadn't received it, so I called the company who told me that they will start the delivery in two days, although they had not told me about delays on ordering. One week later still nothing had arrived so I called again on January 23, 19 days after the original order and I asked to speak with someone in management. The woman said that they were sorry, but there was a problem with the T-shirts and said I would receive a call no later than January 27. As expected no one called. I have no T-shirt, which was supposed to have been a birthday gift in early January. No T-shirt, no refund and no explanation. Can you please help me? CM, Dubai

I initially contacted Groupon via their contact form on their website and also via their Twitter account, but did not receive a response. I then found the contact details of the press department and a very helpful senior staff member investigated promptly and sorted the matter out for CM. She now has the T-shirt she ordered, which was delivered within 24 hours of the complaint being dealt with, and a refund of Dh50 (US$13.61) in her Groupon account, so she is happy with the outcome.

I am an Indian national. I was issued with an employment contract for a period of one year and monthly wages in US dollars were agreed. My job was on board an oil rig with 28/28 days on/off rotation. After two rotations, while on leave, I received an email that told me there had been a mistake in the wages mentioned and that they would be reduced by approximately 35 per cent. If this was not acceptable, then I would have to resign. I told them that a reduction in wages was not acceptable to me and I was sent a termination letter. As a result I have lost my job and been unemployed for the last three months. Is it possible to get compensation in this case? KS, India

If a company has made an offer of employment for a specific amount of salary, it is very bad form to try to reduce this after the offer has been accepted, let alone once a person has been working for them. Technically a company cannot simply reduce an employee's salary without that person's written agreement, but they do not have to give any reason for making someone redundant, particularly if the employee is still in a probationary period, which could be for up to six months. There is really nothing that KS can do in the circumstances.

I have recently located to Dubai, having been relocated by the United Kingdom head office of my employer. I do not yet have a proper residency visa but I have been told that this is being organised for me. The branch office is registered in Dubai, with a trading licence, and the main director has told me that the law requires the company to pay my salary into a local bank account and that it is illegal to pay me via my bank account in the UK. They are arranging a UAE bank account for me, but it is not ready yet and therefore I have not been paid. Can you tell me the actual situation so I know where I stand? IN, Dubai

While there is not a specific law stating that you require a local bank account, the Wages Protection System (WPS) is a form of de-facto enforcement. This system requires that an employer pays the exact salary, per the employment contract lodged with the Ministry of Labour, to your bank account and this account must be in the UAE. You do not need your employer to open your bank account and even without a residency visa you can open a simple savings account into which a cheque or transfer can be paid. Even if you do not have a bank account there is no reason why your employer should not pay you as they could give you a cheque made out to cash, which you then take to a branch of the bank to encash. While this is clearly not ideal, it at least means that you will be paid.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com