On Your Side: Gratuity applicable after one year of service

End-of-service benefits change depending on whether you were terminated or resigned, plus questions about closing an etisalat account and more answered by The National's consumer advocate.

Powered by automated translation

Can you advise what benefits, such as end-of-service gratuity and air tickets, an employee of a shop in Sharjah should receive if he resigns after two years and one month? KS Sharjah

According to the UAE Labour Law, an employee is entitled to full pay until the last working day and also to an end-of-service gratuity provided he has been employed for more than one year. The standard gratuity is calculated as 21 days' pay for each year of service and pro-rata for partial years. However, it is reduced to one third of this if an employee resigns. For service of two years and one month, the employee will be entitled to a gratuity payment equivalent to 14 days of final salary. This should also include bonuses and commissions paid as a regular part of the salary. When an employee terminates a contract, he is responsible for his repatriation costs, unless a signed contract of employment states the contrary.

How can I get Etisalat to cancel my mobile phone connection? I left Dubai permanently on December 3 and moved to Canada. On December 1 or 2, I went in person to Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai and gave an Etisalat employee an application for the disconnection of my post-paid mobile phone. The customer service representative checked the system and asked me to pay the amount that was owed. I paid the amount to the cashier and showed the receipt to the customer service representative. He took the application and said that the cancellation would be done shortly and asked me not to use the phone. A day or two before that, I had my land line and internet connection disconnected in a similar process. However, I realised that my mobile phone had not been disconnected when my former employer contacted me to advise that he was receiving bills from Etisalat for me. I asked a friend in Dubai to visit Etisalat on my behalf to clarify the matter and explain the sequence of events. Etisalat is unable to trace the application and now wants a new form signed in person, with my passport, to cancel the mobile-phone subscription. I could ignore the whole issue and wait for Etisalat to finally cancel the line once it realises there are no calls being made from that number, but I don't want to accrue a debt. I want Etisalat to cancel the subscription because its representative misplaced the application. The final bill payment can be checked on its system, where it can also see that no additional calls were made from it before I left Dubai. WP Canada

The issue was referred to Etisalat and has been resolved. It transpired that there was a small balance outstanding on the account, which is why Etisalat was unable to close it fully. Etisalat said: "The outcome of the investigation has emerged to confirm that your account number has been disconnected and an amount of Dh80 has been deducted from your claimed charges. An amount of Dh36.65 is still remaining in your closed account, which should be paid. This accrued as the line was used in December before the disconnect request." WP will arrange to settle the outstanding balance and is happy that the account has been closed.

My daughter, who is 23, has just finished university and wants to stay with us for six months before taking up a graduate course in Europe. I understand that a visit/tourist visa is only valid for 30 days, but she is not planning to get a job when she is here. How can she legally stay in the country for six months? BF Al Ain

Your daughter will be travelling on a French passport, so she will get a visa on arrival, which is valid for 30 days. The visa can be extended through the General Directorate of Residence and Foreign Affairs, although this can be done once only, or by exiting and re-entering the country by land or air. This is something of a grey area because no one seems to know how often a person can legally do this. Alternatively, your daughter, who is unmarried, can be sponsored by her father and obtain a residency visa. You can do this yourself or ask for assistance from your company PRO.

You recently wrote about how British nationals can still vote when they live overseas. I am from Kerala in India and would like to know if I can vote in my country's elections. Can you give me any information? KP Dubai

I understand that there has been a recent change to the law, which makes it easier for non-resident Indians (NRIs) to vote in elections. But to actually vote, NRIs must be in India at the time of an election. NRIs who want to register to vote can do so by completing Form-6A, which is available on the Embassy of India's UAE website (www.indembassyuae.org) or the Consulate General of India's Dubai website (www.cgidubai.com). Form-6A, together with guidelines regarding completion and addresses of the registration offices of each of the constituencies, can be viewed on the Election Commission of India's website (http://eci.nic.in). In the past, it was necessary for NRIs to have their passports attested as proof of identity, but this is no longer a requirement. Once the relevant paperwork has been received and processed, the individual's name will be included on the electoral roll.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com or onyourside@thenational.ae with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.