‘Can I enforce a court order against my former employer for unpaid benefits?’

The Dubai resident is owed $68,000 in end-of-service benefits after quitting his job in 2018

Judge gavel with Justice at law firm in background with legal case document contract, law and justice, attorney, lawsuit. Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

I worked for a publishing company in Dubai for seven years. I quit in 2018 but my employer refused to pay me my end-of-service benefits worth Dh250,000 ($68,000).

I filed a case against my employer in labour court and won the case. However, he appealed against the verdict. The case was moved to the civil court, where I won the case again. The employer filed another appeal and the judge ruled in my favour again.

An arrest warrant was issued against the founder, who refused to pay other employees their end-of-service benefits, too. However, he has two passports, of which he surrendered one to evade the arrest warrant.

He dissolved the company, which was an LLC. He is still in the country and has not paid my dues yet.

Is there any way to enforce the judgment and ensure he pays the debt he owes us? SS, Dubai

Due to the nature of this inquiry, I sought advice from Thenji Moyo, the Dubai-based legal director of Gateley UK.

Ms Moyo said: “The employee should contact the appointed liquidators of the company in order to register the judgment on the creditors’ list to secure payment against any company assets. The judgment could be enforced against assets, which include bank accounts, furniture, company vehicles, etc. In the event that there are no assets in the UAE, then the employee is in a difficult position as the judgment is against the company.”

“The company is a limited liability entity, which acts as a corporate veil and protects shareholders from personal liability. Any company debts are not against the founder in his personal capacity. The employee should also check if the founder is registered as the general manager of the company. If the employee can establish the general manager’s mismanagement, then he can take steps to file a civil and criminal claim against him in his capacity as the general manager.”

It is always disappointing to hear of people and companies who treat employees in this way and fail to pay what is legally owed. It is hoped that the coming changes to the employment laws in the UAE will reduce the number of such cases.

If an individual tries to pay with a cheque that is dated more than six months ago, the bank will reject it
Keren Bobker, senior partner, Holborn Assets

I lent my friend some money and he has given me two post-dated cheques as security. It is not a very big amount and is for a good reason but I want the money back.

The cheques are dated for February and March this year but I plan to be out of the country from the end of January until the end of May.

Can you tell me how long cheques are valid for in the UAE? BB, Abu Dhabi

In the UAE, a cheque is valid for six months from the date written on it, known as the date of issuance.

If a person tries to pay with a cheque that is dated more than six months ago, the bank will reject it.

I am leaving my job soon and my residence visa will be cancelled on my last day of work. I understand that there is a 30-day grace period during which I can stay in the UAE after the visa cancellation.

I have a new job but it will not start for a few weeks. I have booked a holiday out of the country. Can I enter and exit the country freely during the grace period? FS, Dubai

The grace period after visa cancellation is designed to give people some time to start a new job, but it is not the same as having an actual visa.

Once a person leaves the UAE during their grace period, they cannot re-enter without a valid visa.

FS has advised that she is South African, so she is not eligible for a visa on arrival but must apply for one.

She has two options. She can either make an application for a visit visa or her future employer can apply for a work entry visa on her behalf. This has a cost for the employer and they may not wish to incur this if they have employed someone who is in country.

If FS is flying with either Emirates Airline or Etihad Airways, she can go to the relevant website and select the “manage your booking” option, where she will find an option to apply for a visit visa by entering information and uploading documents.

A fee is payable, which varies depending on the visa’s validity period, and it is issued online.

If FS is travelling with any other airline, she must apply for a visit visa before she travels. She can apply via Amer and will require an inside country, multiple-entry visa. The standard fee is Dh1,800.

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 23, 2022, 5:00 AM