‘Will I be penalised if I quit before completing my probation?’

The Dubai employee is currently serving his notice period and is unsure of his rights

All employees are entitled to be paid for days worked, including if they have resigned during a probationary period. Photo: Getty Images
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Does my employer have the right to deport me to my home country if I resign before completing the probation period of six months?

I am currently serving my fourth month of probation. I have given notice to resign and will work for 30 days. Will I be paid for this time?

I want to resign as I want to look for better opportunities but my employer is threatening to send me back to my home country. Is this legal? WB, Dubai

All employees are entitled to be paid for days worked, including if they have resigned during a probationary period.

If an employee chooses to resign, there can be consequences but an employer cannot simply arrange for deportation.

There can be a penalty for resigning during a probationary period and WB needs to be aware of this. If on a fixed-term contract, he can be penalised in accordance with contract terms and also receive an employment ban for failing to complete the contract.

There is no penalty for resigning on an unlimited contract and less likelihood of a ban, although this depends on the visa level and qualifications.

The employer has to request a ban and provide a reason for the request, but deportation is entirely separate.

If an employee chooses to resign, there can be consequences but an employer cannot simply arrange for deportation
Keren Bobker

Someone with an employment ban will need to return to their home country but will be able to re-enter the UAE once the ban has expired.

My wife and I recently stayed in a hotel in Ras Al Khaimah. The resort charged us a tourism tax in the final bill.

We are long-time residents of Abu Dhabi and not tourists. Can the hotel charge us this fee? BV, Abu Dhabi

Hotels across the UAE charge a number of official taxes, although there is some variation between emirates. The charges generally include a tax on the room rate, a service charge, a municipality fee, a city tax and also a tourism fee. This fee is common to all emirates, although the amount can vary. It is currently Dh20 per room per night in RAK.

This fee is payable by all patrons whether they are UAE residents or not, so the resort was right in charging BV at checkout.

Despite not getting my gratuity and annual leave payment from my employer, I signed papers to cancel my work permit because the company said I had to do so to process the cancellation.

Although the company promised to pay my dues by the evening I signed the document, I have not received anything to date.

The employer said they would also deduct the visa costs from the gratuity amount and charge me for the contract. How can I ensure I receive what I am rightfully owed? IK, Sharjah

The standard paperwork or letter that all employees are asked to sign for their work permit to be cancelled states that they have already received all money due to them.

As has been stated in this column many times, no one should sign this document unless they have been paid all that is owed to them.

Business woman giving bribe money in a brown envelope while give success the deal to finishing contract agreement, Bribery and corruption concept.

Signing the letter without having been paid makes it harder to make a claim. No employer should ever force an employee to sign without having paid them in full.

In addition, the employer said they would charge IK for visa costs. This is illegal under the UAE Labour Law. The costs of all visas are the company’s responsibility and must not be passed on to the employee.

This is separate to applying a penalty for leaving service early when on a fixed-term contract. Even if a contract of employment states that an employee must reimburse an employer, it is an illegal clause and not enforceable.

This issue is covered in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6a, which states: “An undertaking from the employer to the effect that he shall sponsor and be responsible for the recruited Labourer, the bearing of his recruitment expenses and his employment in accordance with the employment contract in a way not prejudicing the provision of the Federal Law No (8)/1980 referred to herein”.

If IK is not paid what is due to him and the employer tries to deduct visa costs, he will need to register a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if it is a mainland employer or at the dispute centre in a free zone. He will need to explain that the employer coerced him to sign the cancellation papers.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: October 16, 2021, 9:28 AM