‘Can I take annual leave during my notice period?’

An employee is allowed to be absent for one day without pay per week during the notice period if the employer terminates the contract

The company must follow the law but they can choose to be kind and allow the employee more time to find a job. Getty
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Question: My job was terminated two weeks ago and I am currently on my notice period. I need to find a new job and have managed to secure a few job interviews.

However, these companies want to see me during working hours but my boss says I cannot take time off during the notice period.

I have accrued some annual leave but am not allowed to take it either. Can my company stop me from taking annual leave? SG, Sharjah

Answer: The employer is correct that they can specify when annual leave is taken and also decline a request during a notice period.

However, it is still possible for SG to take time off work for interviews.

There is a clause in the new UAE labour law, Article 43.5, which states: “If the employment contract is terminated by the employer, the worker shall have the right to be absent during the notice period for one working day without pay per week, in order to search for another job. The worker may specify the day of absence, provided that he notifies the employer of the same three days at least before the absence day.”

Given that the employment has been terminated by the company, they must adhere to the law and allow at least one day off, but they can be kind and allow for more time.

If SG has accrued annual leave but not taken it, she must be paid in lieu as part of her final settlement.

Good luck with the job search.

Q: What is the criteria to apply for the five-year retirement visa in Dubai?

If I decide to travel abroad, is there a limit on the number of days or months I can remain outside the country? MC, Dubai

A: The government of Dubai announced a renewable retirement visa in 2020, subject to specific criteria.

One must be 55 years of age and have worked for at least 15 years, either in or outside the UAE.

This is an overview and more information can be found on government websites, particularly on the Retire in Dubai portal.

In addition, the person must have assets worth at least Dh1 million, either in savings or a property of at least this value.

Alternatively, they must have a regular income of at least Dh15,000 a month, proven by six months’ attested bank statements.

A further option is to have a combination of income and assets with a total value of at least Dh1 million, plus property worth Dh500,000 or more.

The application can be made either through the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA) or the Dubai Land Department, depending on which investment method is used.

The application through the GDRFA can be submitted online while a submission to the DLD must be made in person.

Both options charge the same fee of Dh3,714.75, which covers all expenses, including a visa, change of status and a medical examination.

Copies of current passports are required, together with a residence visa and identity card, if already a UAE resident.

The applicant can sponsor a spouse and all parties should have valid medical insurance. This can be from a local provider or an international plan, provided it includes cover for the UAE.

The retirement visa only has a five-year validity and a new application must be made to remain in the UAE after this period.

If someone has UAE residency and is out of the country for more than 180 days, their visa is invalidated. This is the case for the retirement visa, too.

The only exception is for Golden Visa holders. From October 2022, they can remain outside the UAE for longer than 180 days without it affecting their visa status.

Quote
If someone has UAE residency and is out of the country for more than 180 days, their visa is invalidated. This is the case for the retirement visa, too
Keren Bobker, senior partner, Holborn Assets

Q: We employed a full-time housemaid in September. While her work seems OK, I am not sure if she is a good fit for my family.

She is on probation now. Can this be extended so I can evaluate her further before the role is made permanent? LM, Abu Dhabi

A: The employment of domestic staff is regulated and the most recent legislation is Federal Decree Law No 9 of 2022, concerning domestic workers, which was issued in September.

Article 8 of this law states: “The employer may appoint a domestic worker on a probationary basis for a period of not more than six months from the date of employment.”

The position will be deemed permanent exactly six months after the start date in the employment contract.

In your case, this translates to March 2023 and the probation cannot be extended further.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 30 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: January 01, 2023, 5:00 AM
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