‘Can I file a case against my ex-employer for not paying my gratuity?’

Employees must not sign any documentation unless they are paid all end-of-service benefits

Business woman giving bribe money in a brown envelope while give success the deal to finishing contract agreement, Bribery and corruption concept.
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My previous employer still owes me money as the owner did not pay my gratuity after working for nine years in the company. They terminated me three years ago, but I didn’t file a case as I trusted that he would pay me when he could. He is still asking me to wait until his business has a good level of income but I don’t want to wait any more.

I now work for a different company. Do I have a chance of getting the money that he owes me? Is it worth making a case against my previous employer? CT, Dubai

Waiting three years to be paid an end-of-service gratuity is a very long time and it looks as if the previous employer has no intention of paying what is owed. When someone leaves employment, they are asked to sign documentation stating that they have received all that is due to them in order for their visa to be cancelled. No one should sign this without actually having been paid what they are owed as it will weaken any claim against the employer.

It might be possible for CT to register a case against the employer via the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) if there is evidence to back up the claim. It is never wise to just take anyone’s word that they will pay in such a situation. It is important that all agreements are in writing so that if an employer fails to pay what is owed, as in this case, the individual at least has some evidence.

After three years and if CT signed the cancellation papers, the MoHRE may consider the case to be weak, especially if there is no proof, but may be willing to assist if she can provide written evidence. The ministry can be contacted via their online chat function or by telephone on 800 60.

More than 25 years ago, I lived and worked in the UK for quite a few years. I was a member of a company pension scheme, which I also paid into. I have moved many times since then and lost my details and the company doesn't seem to exist now. Is there a way of finding out what happened to the pension scheme and what I might be due when I retire? TB, Abu Dhabi

All UK pension schemes are regulated and there will be records somewhere. Money in a company scheme should not be lost as all registered schemes are subject to regulatory and government rules.

TB should contact the UK’s Pension Tracing Service with details of any paperwork he might have and his UK national insurance number.

Ordinarily, the Service can be contacted by post, but this option has been suspended for the time being due to the coronavirus situation. I suggest that he contact them during UK working hours on +44 191 215 4491. There may be delays due to limited staff at this time so he may have to try a few times. I have used this service for a few clients and they are helpful.

It is important that people only contact the proper UK government agency as there are companies out there who claim to offer a free service but actually want to push people into pension transfers, whether appropriate or not.

I need to get a number of documents notarised, but am at a loss about where to go. I know there are lawyers who will do this but the ones I have spoken to are expensive, especially for all I need doing. Are there any other ways of doing this? DA, Abu Dhabi

For most documents, you can visit one of the authorised notary publics and there are more than 20 in the emirate of Abu Dhabi alone. Details of locations with timings can be found in the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department website.

In some cases, paperwork can also be notarised at an embassy but it is important to check that a UAE notarised document is recognised in the country the document is required for

Costs should be standardised, although they will vary depending on the actual documents and whether legal translation is required. Multiple copies of the documents to be attested will be required, together with the original, and proof of identity, which should be both the Emirates Identity Card and passport.

The fees will vary from Dh50 to Dh500, plus extra for translation if this is required, so DA may wish to contact an office first to ascertain the fees relating to his documents. There is also an email address to make enquiries: notary.ad@adjd.gov.ae

There are public notaries who offer a range of services in all emirates. In some cases, paperwork can also be notarised at an embassy but it is important to check that a UAE notarised document is recognised in the country the document is required for. In certain cases, a lawyer registered in a home country will be required.

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