'Can I be terminated without notice?'

Under the new UAE labour law, employers are required to give employees 14 days' notice if they are on probation

The new UAE Labour Law prohibits employers from terminating workers on probation without notice. Mike Young / The National
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Can a company terminate a contract without notice? I have been with my employer for three months on an unlimited contract but they have told me that my job is not needed and I must leave straight away. Can they do this? UT, Sharjah

UT is still in his probationary period and the recent change in the UAE labour law affects his situation. Before February 2, 2022, an employer did not have to provide any notice if they terminated an employee during probation. However, this has now changed in accordance with Federal Decree Law No 33 of 2021.

Article 9, clause 1 of the law, states: “The employer may terminate the service of the worker during this period after notifying the latter of the same in writing fourteen (14) days at least before the date specified for the termination of service.”

It appears that many companies are still unaware of the changes in the law, so this needs to be brought to their attention.

I would add that UT is entitled to his salary for all days worked, including the notice period.

We work for a Dubai company but our employer has not renewed our medical cover, which expired in April 2021. He says he will do when he has time. We said we thought it required by law to have medical insurance and that the employer was responsible for arranging it. However, he claims it is only recommended. How can we convince him to arrange medical cover for staff? FM and RC, Dubai

Dubai Health Insurance Law No 11 of 2013 came into effect in stages. The final deadline for all Dubai employers and sponsors to have Dubai Health Authority-compliant cover in place was December 2016.

Regardless of the size of the company, this is a legal obligation and not the choice of the employer.

The responsibility of an employer is set out in Article 10 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law. This states: “The employer shall be obliged to do the following: 1. Cover the employees thereof by health insurance in accordance with the health insurance policy applicable thereby, providing to comply with the provisions of this law and the resolutions issued pursuant thereto; 2. Bear the costs for such health insurance coverage rather than making the beneficiaries bear such costs; 3. Verify that the health insurance of the employees thereof is valid for the length of their work period at the employer; 4. Bear the health services and medical intervention costs in emergencies for any of the employees thereof, if any of them has no health insurance in accordance with the provisions of this law; 5. Give the employees thereof the health insurance card; and 6. Provide the health insurance policy upon the residence issuance or renewal of the employees thereof.”

I am including the full list of requirements so that FM and RC can show it to their employer.

Few insurance companies now issue physical insurance cards but soft copies are provided and they are linked to Emirates identity cards.

Not only is there a requirement to ensure appropriate medical insurance is in place, any employer that fails to do this can be heavily fined. Article 23 of the Dubai Health Insurance Law states that if an employer fails to provide suitable medical cover, the DHA may impose penalties ranging from Dh500 to Dh150,000. Persistent offenders can receive further fines of up to Dh500,000.

I work as a housemaid but my employer is not paying me. I have not received my salary for two months and they want me to work seven days a week. The family says the UAE labour law does not apply to me. Are there laws for housemaids, as I need the money to send to my family? CK, Abu Dhabi

There are laws to protect housemaids in the UAE, specifically Federal Law No 10 of 2017 on Domestic Workers.

Regarding the payment of salary, Article 10 of this law states: “The monthly wage shall be paid in UAE dirhams within a period not exceeding 10 days from its due date.”

Article 12 of the same law covers working days and times: “1. The worker shall have the right to a weekly rest day with a comprehensive wage … He may be employed on his weekly rest day, in which case he shall have the right to an alternative day off or a monetary allowance; 2. The implementing regulations of this law shall regulate the worker’s working and rest hours where the daily rest shall not be less than 12 hours per day, including at least eight consecutive hours.”

If any employer fails to comply with the law, a case can be raised with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

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: February 20, 2022, 5:06 AM