'Can I resign from my job while still on probation?'

Under the UAE labour law, employees must give their employers 30 days' notice of their intention to quit

Employers must pay staff in full at the time of leaving service. Getty Images
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Question: I have been in the UAE for five months and started working in December 2023. Now, I want to resign from my job. Can I leave at anytime or do I have to give them one month's notice? I am still in my probation period, which is six months.

Will they pay me if I say I am leaving? We get paid late every month, sometimes by three or four weeks, and I am worried they will just decide not to give me my pay. RN, Sharjah

Answer: I understand that RN wants to stay in the UAE and take on another job. This makes a difference according to the rules that apply under Federal Decree Law No 33 of 2021, known as the UAE labour law.

“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,” Article 9 of the law states.

Watch: New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

New UAE labour laws come into effect

“Then, the new employer shall compensate the original employer for the costs of recruitment or contracting with the worker, unless otherwise agreed upon,” it adds.

This means that RN should provide the employer with formal notice to leave the company.

The notice period is part of an employment contract and RN should be paid in full for the month.

The law also makes reference to salaries being paid on time. Article 22, which defines the amount or type of wage and its payment, is clear.

“The employer shall pay the salaries or wages to its workers on their due dates in accordance with the regulations approved in the ministry,” it states.

Salaries should be paid when they are due – not when the employer wants to pay them.

If an employee resigns, they should be paid in full at the time of leaving service.

In 2022, there were amendments to the Wages Protection System, which is designed to protect the salaries of UAE employees.

The system should pick up on any late salary payments and if a company is late in paying staff, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation will stop granting it any additional work permits starting from the 16th day of delay.

The employer will be monitored and can be fined, especially if there are significant delays.

If an employer fails to pay salaries that are due, either ongoing or if a staff member leaves employment, a case can be registered against the company with the ministry. The ministry will now be handling nearly all smaller cases itself, rather than it having to go to court, which takes more time.

Q: If an employer terminates an employee and does not request that they serve out the notice period by working, what is the official end date of employment for documentation?

Is it the date when the notice period started or the date when the notice period ended? MT, Abu Dhabi

A: In this situation, even if someone is not required to actually work during the notice period, it is still part of the period of employment.

From the date of redundancy or termination, there will be an additional 30 days of official employment, unless the contract has a longer notice period.

The official end date is the last day of the period of notice and the visa and work permit must remain valid until that date.

If the employee is asked to stay at home, it is often referred to as “gardening leave”.

During this notice period, the end-of-service gratuity continues to accrue, as does annual leave, and medical insurance and all other benefits must remain in place.

The person remains an employee during this period and should not be working elsewhere.

It is possible to end the employment sooner, provided that both parties agree to this, and that the employee is paid in full for the notice period – whether it is worked or not.

Q: I lent my friend some money and she has given me two postdated cheques as security. It is not a very big amount and it was for a good reason but I do want the money back.

The cheques are dated for April and May of this year but I plan to be out of the country from the end of March until sometime in August.

Can you tell me how long cheques are valid for in the UAE? HY, Dubai

A: In the UAE, a cheque is valid for a period of six months from the date it was written, known as the date of issuance. If a person tries to pay with a cheque that is dated more than six months ago, it will be rejected by the bank.

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.comor at www.financialuae.com

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

Updated: March 10, 2024, 7:54 AM