‘Can I cancel a labour case if the employer agrees to pay my salary?’

Both parties must sign and submit a settlement agreement to court that confirms all dues have been paid

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - June 11, 2009: A customer pays for coffee at a coffee shop in Abu Dhabi. 

( Ryan Carter / The National )

*** stock, money, exchange, pay, dirham, dirhams
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I filed a case against my employer for not paying my salary and other benefits and we have a date set for a court hearing.

The main owner of the company is now involved and said they are willing to settle and pay me what is owed.

Can I cancel the case or will there be a problem? WT, Dubai

If an agreement is reached and the full amount owed is paid, the person who made the formal complaint is able to cancel it.

Firstly, a settlement agreement has to be signed by both parties and this should confirm that payment has been made. Secondly, the settlement agreement has to be submitted to the court’s labour relations section. This can be done online in most cases.

Once the settlement agreement has been submitted, the court will dismiss the case and no further action will be required.

An individual who cancels a case in this situation is not subject to any fines or costs.

In this situation, I strongly recommend that the individual is actually paid, with the money in their bank account, before withdrawing a case.

My company decided that all employees must now wear a uniform and told us that we had to pay for two of them. I have worked at the company for two years.

We don’t mind wearing a uniform, but we are unhappy about being told to pay for it because we do not earn high salaries.

Can the company force us to pay for this? MV, Sharjah

The employer cannot legally force staff to pay for the uniform or deduct any money from their salaries to cover the cost
Keren Bobker, senior partner, Holborn Assets

If an employer requires a uniform, they usually provide it and the requirement is stated in the terms of employment. Any change of contract terms should be agreed by both the employee and the employer.

While MV and her colleagues are happy to wear a uniform, they should not be made to pay for it. The employer cannot legally force staff to pay for the uniform or deduct any money from their salaries to cover the cost.

If the employer does not comply with the law after the rules are communicated clearly, staff can register a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, either by calling the toll-free number 80060 or via the website.

I have been in the UAE for a few weeks and found a suitable job. However, the company said it would only sponsor me after the three-month probation period. They have offered to pay for my visa extension.

The manager said this is usual practice and that I need to prove myself before they pay for a visa. Is this legal? Some friends said this has also happened to them, while others said it is against the law. CP, Dubai

The law is very clear in that non-citizens are not permitted to work without a valid visa and work permit. The visa can be from a sponsor, such as a parent or spouse, issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the relevant free zone authority. There are no exceptions to this.

Anyone who works for a company or even sets up their own business will be doing so illegally if they do not have a correct visa and work permit. It is illegal to work in the UAE on a visit or tourist visa.

This law has been in place for many years and is covered in Federal Law No (6) for 1973, Concerning Immigration and Residence, as amended by law 7 of 1985, Law 13 of 1996 and also Federal Decree Law No 17 of 2017.

Article 11 of this legislation states: “The foreigner who obtains a visit visa may not work anywhere in the country with or without pay or for his own.”

This information is in the public domain and all employers should know the rules.

By continuing to work on a visit visa, not only is the individual breaking the law but so is the employer and both parties can be fined substantial amounts of money.

It also means that the individual has no protection under the law if anything goes wrong, such as the employer not paying them.

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: January 15, 2022, 7:16 AM