'Do I have to honour a three-month notice period if I have not been paid?'

This Dubai employee, who has not received a salary for three months, has a new job but his employer is refusing to let him resign

Two people are standing at a table, across from each other. Their hands grasp each others in a firm handshake. On the table sits a contract of employment. Getty Images

I work in Dubai on an unlimited contract. I am planning to leave the company by giving a notice period of one month but my contract says the notice period is three months. I have an offer with another company and have to start there in one month's time. My boss said he is not ready to accept my resignation but I have not been paid for three months. What can I do about this issue? SC, Dubai

While UAE Labour Law says the minimum notice period required in all cases is 30 days, if a contract has been signed by both parties that states the notice period is three months, this is the agreement that is valid. By accepting the contract SC has agreed to the three-month notice period and an employer is within their rights to enforce this if they choose to do so.

This situation is complicated by the fact SC says he has not been paid for a period of three months. The employer is in breach of UAE Labour Law and Article 121 states: “The worker may leave work without notice in the following cases: a - Should the employer breach his obligations towards the worker, as set forth in the contract or the law ... "

This means that SC can leave this employment without giving any notice, provided he files a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, either directly or at any Tasheel office. He will need to advise them of the action he is taking, explain that he has not been paid for three months, and request the cancellation of his employment visa. Once this is in place, SC will be able to take up the new employment without having to wait for three months. I would also point out that an employer cannot refuse to accept an employee’s resignation.


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I manage a Dubai company and after having issues with our previous business bank, we decided to open a new account with Emirates NBD. We met a member of staff on October 8. We had to obtain some additional items but they were forwarded to the bank by October 26. We chased the bank several times but were asked for duplicate information; items that could have been provided ages ago. Then, on November 22, we pointed out that due to this delay the company was about to be penalised as we had been unable to comply with the requirements of the Wages Protection System because we did not have an operational bank account. We continued to chase the bank, not least as our contact went on holiday, and we had to find someone else to tell us what was going on. We are getting desperate to get this account open so the business can continue to operate properly. Can you help? MC, Dubai

After receiving this enquiry, I made contact with Emirates NBD last month and the bank promised to look into the matter straight away. MC later notified me that the bank had told him there were no further requirements and the account has been opened.

A spokeswoman for the bank subsequently advised: "We are pleased to inform you that our group customer experience team contacted Mr C and provided him with the necessary clarifications and the matter has been resolved. We have offered Mr C our sincere apologies for this discrepancy and for any inconvenience caused. Emirates NBD appreciates its customers' feedback and will take every opportunity to further review and enhance any internal processes that require attention."


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I left the UAE in 2010 and was reported as absconding. I then returned and as I was unable to work, I was then deported and given a lifetime ban. Can I come back to the country and work again? SK, Pakistan

Lifetime bans are usually issued where someone has been convicted of a crime, so there may be more to this than has been disclosed. This falls under Federal Law No. 6 for 1973 Concerning Immigration and Residence. Article 28 of this law states: “An alien who has been deported may not return to the country except with special permission from the Minister of Interior.”

SK can contact the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigner Affairs for the emirate in which he was living. This is part of the Ministry of the Interior and regulates the entry and exit of travellers to the UAE.  Each emirate has its own similar office with its own website.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 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