‘Can my employer change my job role without my consent?’

An employee cannot be assigned to do work that is fundamentally different from what is agreed upon in the employment contract without their consent

Close up of woman signing contract in job application form. Getty Images
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I have been employed as an accounts clerk for a few years. However, my employer has now hired someone else for this job and I have been asked to work in the main administrative office in a very different role.

I liked my job in accounts. Can the company make me do a different job? SB, Abu Dhabi

Federal decree-law no (33) of 2021, known as the new labour law, covers this situation in Article 12. It states: “The worker may not be assigned to undertake work that is fundamentally different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, unless it is necessary in order to prevent the occurrence of an accident or to rectify the resulting damages, provided that the assignment is temporary and in accordance with what is specified in the implementing regulation hereof.”

It seems that SB’s change of role is not down to a major problem, so the employer should not have made this change without her agreement. By law, her agreement is required in writing.

SB can register a case against the employer with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation for breach of the law. But, in reality, this could result in a difficult work environment. Therefore, since her salary has not changed, SB will need to make a sensible decision.

If SB leaves the company since there is no role for her in accounts, she may have a case for arbitrary dismissal. This will need to be backed up by a contract of employment that states her former role. However, there is no guarantee of winning the case if there has been no change to her salary or workplace.

The maximum claim would be three months’ salary, but that is the most that can be awarded by courts.

I work for an oil and gas company in Abu Dhabi but often travel for work. This usually entails travelling to places such as Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I recently got married and want to take out life cover. But when I spoke to a broker, they said I could not be insured because of where I travel to.

Is this really the case as there must be a lot of people who travel to these countries? Do I have any options? HM, Abu Dhabi

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

HM certainly has options and it is possible to arrange life cover for people who travel, although with restrictions.

From the perspective of an insurance company, certain countries are considered higher risk. This means that life insurance for someone living in the GCC who travels to such countries could be subject to a higher premium. The amount of increase is considered on a case-by-case basis.

In each case, consideration is given to their occupation, frequency of travel, exact location in a country, activities and any security measures in place.

In some cases, the person will be offered life cover without an increase in premium, but with an exclusion for travel to a certain country. If that is the case, I would expect the employer to have a short-term risk plan in place as it may be excluded by all standard insurers.

I have arranged many such life policies over the years and while more work and information is required, there is no reason why people who travel to higher-risk counties cannot be eligible for protection policies.

My wife and I are travelling to Dubai next month from Dublin, but we recently realised that we require six months’ validity on a passport from the date of travel.

She is an Irish citizen but has only three months left before her passport expires. We are only staying for 10 days and have hotel reservations.

Is there any way that she could travel to the UAE? CK, Ireland

The rules are strict regarding the validity of passports to enter the UAE and the standard rules for international travel apply.

For non-residents of the UAE, a passport with validity of at least six months is required. Without that, a passenger is unlikely to be allowed to fly as they will not be permitted to board a plane.

The initial responsibility lies with the airline and they can be fined if they allow someone to board a plane without the correct documents. Even if she was permitted to fly, she will probably be turned away on arrival by UAE immigration officials.

For people with UAE residence visas, the minimum passport validity required is usually three months.

Therefore, CK’s wife will need to arrange a new passport before flying to the UAE. Note that emergency travel documents issued by some countries are not valid for entry into the UAE.

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: June 12, 2022, 5:00 AM