'My former employer refuses to pay my final month's salary. What do I do?'

The reader was working part-time but has not received her final Dh2,000 wage

While the offer letter states a basic salary of Dh1,400, the employee's contract says the figure is Dh600. The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

I am on my husband's visa and had a part-time job working at an agency. The company applied for my work permit but I didn't get a job offer or contract from them. I quit my job after three months and so far, they have not paid my last salary of Dh2,000. They said they won't pay as I didn't finish the contract, a contract I have never seen or signed. Do they have the right to do this? CS, Abu Dhabi

The first point to establish is whether CS was legally employed. She has not specified whether she received confirmation that a work permit was issued. However, this is something she can check herself on the website of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, www.mohre.gov.ae, or by contacting the helpline on 800 60. All employees can check if their work permits and employment visas are valid and review the contract terms lodged with the ministry. This is important as only someone employed legally, who has an employment visa or work permit, is protected under UAE Labour Law. All employees should sign an employment contract that clarifies their salary and whether they are employed on an unlimited or limited basis. It is not wise to accept a job without these points confirmed in writing.

It is doubtful CS was employed on a fixed-term contract, where there is a penalty for ending it early, because the penalty would be more than one month’s salary. CS must give 30 days’ notice on resigning, although it is not uncommon for someone in a notice period to be asked to leave immediately, which is permitted. A company cannot simply decide not to pay someone their salary so payment is due for the time worked.

CS now needs to establish whether she was employed legally. If she was, she can then file a complaint against the employer for non-payment of salary. If she was not legally employed, she has no rights under UAE law and the company has been acting illegally. While it is the employer’s responsibility to arrange the proper visas and permits, individuals must obtain confirmation that this has been done to be protected in law.

I am a medical professional and really need your help with my bank as I have reached a stalemate. I am with RAKBank and have debts I would like to reschedule as I am struggling with the payments and need to reduce them. The situation is complicated by the way the owner of the medical practice pays staff. We receive one third of our salary on one date and the remainder later in the month. It is all basic salary and I have provided a letter from the owner and a copy of my labour contract to show this. The bank is insistent that my salary is only the smaller sum, which is an unrealistic amount for someone in my role, even though I have given them proof of the two amounts arriving in my bank account in the same manner every month.

I need breathing space to take control of my debt by rescheduling my liabilities. My debts arose from issues with a previous employer, but my request keeps being bounced back from someone internally. I have been very honest with the bank and want to repay my debts, but just need someone who has the authority to make a decision to look at my case so I can get back in control. The bank's Elite Connect team have been helpful but they can't authorise the changes I need and the collections won't or can't do so either. This has been going on since October and the stress of the situation is getting to be too much. NM, Dubai

I referred Dr M’s query to my contacts at RAKBank who got on the case straight away and were able to resolve the problem within a week. A spokeswoman for the bank commented: “We have contacted the customer and his request to reschedule his liabilities has been reviewed and approved on an exceptional basis to assist him with his repayments. The loan was rescheduled successfully and NM advised of the same.”

NM has confirmed the bank has been in touch to advise that the rescheduling he requested will take place and said: “A weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can now get on with my life. Thank you.” In situations such as this, where a customer’s salary is paid on a non-standard basis, it sometimes just needs someone with sufficient authority to review the case and make a decision.

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