Ramadan 2022: 'Do all employees work reduced hours?'

The working day will be reduced by two hours during the holy month and applies to all workers regardless of their religion

Working hours during Ramadan will be reduced by two hours. Pawan Singh / The National

I run a small business with seven employees and we are trying to do everything right in accordance with the Labour Law. Under the new law, what do I have to do in terms of the working hours of staff during Ramadan? Do all staff qualify for shorter hours or only the ones who are fasting? JM, Ras Al Khaimah

“The normal working hours will be reduced by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan,” the Labour Law says.

This applies to all employees, regardless of their religion or if they are fasting or not.

Any employer who fails to follow this law can be heavily fined.

Last month, the authorities confirmed that working hours for Federal government employees during Ramadan would be from 9am to 2.30pm, Monday to Thursday, and from 9am to midday on Fridays.

Working hours for the private sector during Ramadan will be reduced by two hours, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said on March 15.

I started a new job on February 7 and my visa was stamped on January 31. Can I resign during the first month of my employment?

As my visa was stamped in January, does my case also come under the new UAE Labour Law? RU, Abu Dhabi

RU can resign during the first month of employment but is required to give written notice. The notice period is dependent on whether RU plans to move to another job in the UAE or if he wishes to return to his home country.

Article 9, Clause 3, of the new Labour Law says: “If the worker wishes to move during the probationary period to work for another employer in the State, he shall notify the original employer of the same in writing within not less than one month from the date of his wish to terminate the contract. Then, the new employer shall compensate the original employer for the costs of recruitment or contracting with the worker, unless otherwise agreed upon.”

The situation is different if RU plans to leave the UAE.

“If the foreign worker wishes to terminate the employment contract during the probationary period, to leave the State, he shall notify the employer of the same in writing not less than fourteen (14) days from the date specified for the termination of the contract,” Article 9, Clause 4, of the Labour Law says.

If someone leaves the UAE but then returns to take up new employment within a period of three months, they are treated as having moved immediately to a new role and the previous employer is liable for the recruitment costs.

I am a British citizen and last week received a call from a person claiming they were with the UK's Department of Work and Pensions. They said they were calling people who had left the UK and were living overseas.

It was odd that he didn’t ask or say anything about the state pension. However, he asked me if I had any private pension arrangements and wanted details as he said this could affect when my state pension is paid. I told him that I had a National Health Service pension and nothing else and he then muttered something and hung up.

Quote
If someone leaves the UAE but then returns to take up a new employment within a period of three months, they are treated as having moved immediately to a new role and the previous employer is liable for the recruitment costs
Keren Bobker

It seemed he called from a mobile number and when I tried to call back, it didn’t go through. Could this have been genuine and is there anything I need to know? I tend to think that the UK government would not have my telephone number. RL, Dubai

The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for state pensions. It has limited involvement in private pensions, which is simply to ensure that UK employers provide a suitable scheme for employees.

It has no other input and does not keep records of people’s private pension arrangements. These do not affect any entitlement to the UK government’s basic State Pension, which is based on National Insurance contributions.

A UK government department does not provide advice on private pensions and they would never contact anyone from a mobile telephone.

It is likely that RL was contacted by a salesperson looking for someone with a private pension arrangement that could be transferred to a new plan.

A National Health Service pension is a statutory scheme with certain protections and this also cannot be transferred to a private plan.

These days, many people have a fair amount of information in the public domain and being cold-called is common, no matter how much we dislike it.

However, the issue here is that the person making the call was not telling the truth about who they were and their intentions. That is fraudulent and even criminal in some jurisdictions.

The UK government does not contact expats about pensions and anyone who receives such a call should end it immediately. Any ethical financial adviser would not lie about who they are in this way.

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: April 03, 2022, 5:00 AM