‘Can my employer deny me paid leave while I recover from a work injury?’

Employees recovering from accidents in the workplace must be paid in full for up to six months, according to the UAE Labour Law

All employers have the responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe. Getty
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I was injured at work after a cupboard fell on my foot and broke some bones. My job requires me to spend a lot of time standing and walking.

My doctor advised me to avoid standing and walking for a week. However, my employer is not very understanding.

Although they allowed me to take more time off, I will not be paid for this leave. This does not seem fair since I was at work when the accident happened. Do I have any rights? TH, Dubai

All employers have a responsibility to ensure a safe workplace and, similar to a house, that shelves and cupboards are secured.

The employer’s obligation is covered in the new Labour Law under Article (37), titled “Compensation for Work Injuries and Occupational Diseases”.

“In case the worker has a work injury or an occupational disease, the employer shall: a. Bear the expenses of the worker’s treatment until he recovers and is able to return to work or proves his disability, in accordance with the conditions, rules and procedures specified by the implementing regulation hereof,” the law says.

“If the work injury or occupational disease prevents the worker from performing his work, the employer shall pay to the worker an amount equivalent [to] his full wage throughout the treatment period or for six months, whichever is less,” it adds.

“If the treatment period exceeds six months, the worker shall obtain half wage for another six months, or until the worker is cured or his disability or death is proven, whichever is earlier.”

Any treatment that TH requires should be covered by her medical insurance. If not, the employer should pay for any extra costs.

She is also entitled to be paid in full for any time off work in relation to her injury for up to six months. This should be backed by a medical certificate.

I suggest that TH shows this article to her employer so that they are clear on the provisions of the UAE Labour Law, which now applies in full to all employers in the Emirates, with the exceptions of companies operating within the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Abu Dhabi Global Market free zones.

If the employer still fails to meet their obligations, TH can register a case against them with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, either by calling the toll-free number, 800 60, or through the chat function on the website.

I hold a UAE residence visa, which is supposed to expire on July 1 this year, and have been out of the UAE for more than six months. However, the federal government portal shows that the permit is still valid.

Can I enter the UAE with my Emirates ID without any problem? AB, Rwanda

If someone is out of the country for a period of 180 days, their visa will usually become invalid but it is not automatically cancelled. Their Emirates ID is linked to their visa, so the same can apply.

If AB left the UAE as he was no longer employed, his previous employer should have cancelled his visa. He will need to approach his previous employer and request them to cancel his visa.

However, it is curious that this was not done when he left the UAE as it is also in the employer’s interest to complete this process properly.

It can be tricky to process the cancellation of a visa if an employee is not in the country, although it is possible for the employer to do so if someone has been out of the country for 180 days or more.

If someone has absconded, the employer will normally report them, then request a ban for a year and cancel the visa in due course.

AB has not explained the circumstances of his departure. However, it is unwise to try to re-enter the UAE in such a situation.

To ensure that he does not face a ban and seek advice on his particular circumstances, he should contact the immigration department of the relevant emirate to see what is registered in the system.

If AB tries to enter the UAE and is flagged in the immigration system, he will be detained and may, in the best-case scenario, be delayed or even refused entry.

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 16, 2022, 4:00 AM