‘Can an employer withdraw a job offer over late bill payments?’

A late payment for a bill is not a reason for an offer to be rescinded

A late payment for a bill is not a reason for an employer to withdraw a job offer. Getty Images
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I have accepted a new job offer and am due to start work next week.

I am late in paying my telephone bill by a month because I have been out of work for three months. Will this stop me from getting a new visa and the job? JR, Abu Dhabi

A late payment for a bill is not a reason for an employer to withdraw a job offer and they are unlikely to know about it.

The only time this could be an issue is if the telephone company has filed a police case for late payment. But this seems unlikely as the amount outstanding is lower than Dh500 and the payment is only one month overdue.

A police case against an individual can prevent them from obtaining a new employment visa. However, JR can check if there is a police case registered against him.

Abu Dhabi residents can check if there are any cases against them through an online service from the judicial department called Estafser. An Emirates ID number is required regardless of the residency visa status. An individual’s ID number does not change, so a valid ID card is not required.

The procedure is different in other emirates. In Dubai, this information can be checked through the Dubai Police app but it will also show cases in other emirates.

It is a free service, so is worth checking first before contacting the police in other emirates for confirmation.

I recently moved to Dubai because I received a job offer, which I signed. However, I have not started work yet because the restaurant is not open. My visa is still under process.

I also received another job offer and can start work immediately. I would like to take up this job.

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

Can I resign while waiting to start work or during the probation period? If I resign during the probation period, do I need to pay my employer for a one-month notice period or for three months, as per my employment contract? Or can I resign immediately during my probation period? PK, Dubai

It seems the employer has submitted an application for a residency visa. If the visa is being processed or is ready, PK will generally be considered an employee, whether or not he has actually started working. This means that he is required to give notice in line with the provisions of Federal Law 33 of 2021, also known as the new Labour Law.

The notice period depends on whether someone is leaving the UAE or moving to another job in the country, which seems to be the case here.

“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,” clause 3, under Article 9, of the Labour Law says.

“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 the individual 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 14 days from the date specified for the termination of the contract,” clause 4 says.

As PK wishes to move to another job in the UAE, he is obliged to serve one months' notice and the employer has the right to insist on this.

Most employers will not wish to retain an employee in this situation and will allow them to leave immediately, but it may also depend on whether they have paid for the visa.

“If either party terminates the employment contract without taking into consideration the provisions of this Article, it shall pay to the other party compensation equal to the worker’s wages for the notice period or the remaining period of the notice period,” clause 5 of Article 13 says.

However, this does not imply that an employee can simply quit as that can lead to a ban for absconding. Instead, the two parties must try to reach an agreement.

If the employer agrees, PK can offer to pay full or a part of the compensation for the notice period.

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: May 01, 2022, 5:00 AM