On Your Side: Employer should pay for full 30 days after notice to quit

Plus questions about employment bans, how much currency you can travel with in the UAE and a tenant with a contract on a villa to be sold answered by The National's consumer advocate.

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I worked at a nursery school in Dubai from September 2010 until October this year on an unlimited local contract. I resigned in the last week of September because of a family move to Abu Dhabi. My resignation letter said my last working day would be November 10 but I would stay longer if they needed me. Last week my boss told me the sponsor said I should stop working on October 31 because my medical for my visa needs to be renewed by November 11. As requested, I stopped working on October 31, but now she is refusing to pay my gratuity. She also doesn't want to pay me the 10 days of salary up to November 10. Can she deny me my gratuity? What should the gratuity be based on, current or starting salary, and how many days? Is she obligated to pay the 10 days they told me not to work in November, even if I stated in my resignation letter my last day would be that date? LG, Abu Dhabi

Personal Finance On Your Side

The National's consumer advocate, Keren Bobker, answers your questions on legal and financial matters in the UAE and beyond.

Assuming your employment contract states 30 days notice is required on resigning, as is the standard, and that the letter of resignation was delivered 30 days before November 10, then this is the final working day and the salary must be paid to that date, even if an employee is asked to stop working sooner. If a visa is due for renewal on November 11, that is not a valid reason to not pay someone for part of their contractual notice period and UAE Labour Law (Article 118) states that an "employee shall be entitled to full pay during the notice period on the basis of last pay he earned". As LG has completed over a full year of service, she is entitled to receive an end-of-service gratuity, although this will be reduced as she resigned and will therefore be based on a calculation of seven days for each year of service and pro-rata for partial years. This is calculated on the last payable basic salary. If the employer is refusing to make a full settlement, then a case should be raised with the Ministry of Labour. The initial contact should be to their helpline at 800 665.

If you were not on good terms with your employer or he/she was upset for some reason, does he/she have the ability to ban you, simply because of their mood or because they can? By banning you, I don't mean simply firing you from work, but banning you from the UAE once and for all. My boss is very mean and has threatened me with a ban for life if I resign. JQ, Dubai

You cannot be given a random ban because someone doesn't like you. If you resign from your company, whether you receive an employment ban depends on how long you have been employed, in what role and your salary. Someone can only receive a lifetime ban if they have committed and been charged with a criminal act. If you are made redundant you will not be banned.

I am a UAE resident and have a business here, but I also have business interests in India and frequently travel with a lot of cash. I prefer to exchange cash in person as I usually get better rates than going through a bank or exchange house. One of my business contacts has asked me about the legal limit of cash that a person can have when travelling to and from the UAE, but I have never thought about this and assumed there was no limit. Can you tell me what the law is as I do not want to break it and get in trouble? KP, Sharjah

Only a few months ago the UAE put in place a limit of Dh100,000 for people to take out of the UAE and the same limit applies to people entering the country. This applies to dirhams or the equivalent in any other currency. I do not recommend travelling with large sums of cash and if you are transferring large sums between currencies, it is possible to use a finance house that offers wholesale exchange rates that are better than those offered via retail banks, but are still secure transactions.

Some months ago, we moved into the villa we live in now and although the contract is on an annual basis and we have paid the rent in one cheque, we verbally agreed that we would stay here for three years as we did not want to move again. Our landlord has now told us he has various personal and financial issues and is planning on selling the villa. We have been told by friends that he has to buy us out of the contract. Is this true? Where do we stand on this as we will end up losing money on agency fees, telephone and internet connections and DEWA and really do not want to move? MS, Dubai

Your landlord cannot force you to move out just because he is planning on selling the property. He has to sell it with tenants "in situ" and the new owner must honour the terms of your lease, although this will be for the term on the formal contact and any verbal agreement to stay longer is not legally binding on either party. If your contract has a break clause he can use that, provided you are given the appropriate notice and a refund, but he cannot make you move out just because he wants you to do so. If you have a problem, you can take your complaint to the Real Estate Regulatory Authority with your registered contract, and they will clarify the law and enforce it.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com