'Can my employer withhold my final salary?'

Under the UAE labour law, all companies are legally required to pay what is owed to departing employees

The payment of end-of-service gratuity is not optional and an employer cannot legally decide not to pay what is owed to a departing employee. Photo: Silvia Razgova / The National
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I resigned from my company, but my employer is not willing to pay me my final settlement, even though it is a small amount — equivalent to about one month’s salary.

My employer wants me to sign the work permit cancellation form, even though I have not received my salary. I have refused to sign it.

However, I accidentally signed another document stating that I received my end-of-service dues. Can this be used against me to avoid paying my final settlement? Or does the work permit cancellation form have more weight than other documents? AR, Abu Dhabi

Payment of end-of-service gratuity is not optional and under the UAE labour law, all employers are legally required to pay what is owed to a departing employees.

The standard paperwork or letter that employees are asked to sign for their work permit to be cancelled states that they have already received all money due to them.

It is curious that AR was asked to sign something other than the usual document, but whether that will be accepted depends on the wording.

As I have previously said in this column, nobody should sign a document to confirm that any payment has been received unless they have actually been paid in full.

Signing a document without having been paid makes it harder to make a claim after the event.

However, all salary payments should go through the official Wages Protection System (WPS), so it should be easy enough to prove that no payment has been made to AR’s bank account.

If the employer fails to pay what is due, AR should raise a case against the company with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, either by calling 800 60 or using the online chat function on its website.

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

I left the UAE after being made redundant by my company. I had a good job and was on a five-year contract.

Because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, I had to leave Dubai quickly. I had a personal loan, which I knew I would not be able to honour after being made redundant.

Will I be arrested if I transit through Dubai, even though I will not go through immigration? I was told I may be able to enter the country but not depart. GS, South Africa

I understand that GS has not continued to make any payments on the loan and has defaulted on the repayments.

If a person leaves the UAE and continues to make the agreed repayments, there is no issue. However, if more than three payments are missed, the bank is likely to file a police case and travel ban against the individual for non-payment of debt.

Transiting is rarely a problem, but there are cases of people experiencing delays while travelling and entering the UAE if a police case has been lodged against them.

GS should contact the bank to find out if there is a case against him before flying and agree to a payment plan to start repaying the outstanding debt. Dubai Police also offers a free service to check travel bans related to financial cases, which can be accessed through its website.

My father passed away in the UAE in March 2021. His car is still registered under his name and there are some fines that need to be paid.

We are going to inherit the vehicle and register it under one of our names. Do I need to pay the fines? SN, Dubai

If a car owner has been fined but has passed away, the fines can be cancelled, according to the General Department of Traffic, which comes under Dubai Police.

However, specific conditions apply: the fines must have been accrued by the deceased person and not by any other party who has driven the vehicle. The waiver will only apply to traffic violations committed before the date of death, as stated in a death certificate.

If SN has formal confirmation that she will inherit the vehicle, she should visit Dubai Police with the death certificate, proof of identity and the vehicle ownership papers. She can request that the outstanding fines be cancelled.

The police may require a few days to complete the process of checking and then cancelling the outstanding fines.

Standard practice is that all outstanding vehicle fines must be cancelled or paid in full for the transfer of ownership to take place.

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: August 28, 2022, 5:00 AM