I have a question regarding gratuity as I will be quitting my job soon. If I have annual leave days carried forward from last year that I was unable to take because my boss did not approve them. Will I be paid for those days as part of my final settlement? SN, Abu Dhabi
The calculation of the gratuity, which is based on the period of service and salary, is separate from the payment for any days of annual leave that have been accrued but not been taken.
The usual guidance is that if an employee has built up an entitlement to days of leave, payment for these days should be added to the final settlement that is due on leaving service. This will include salary, gratuity and the accrued leave.
SN said that she is owed days of leave from last year and all companies ought to have procedures in place regarding days of leave that an employee is entitled to but are not taken.
It is common for a company to permit a few days of leave to be carried over to a new year but if an employer has not permitted an employee to take leave to which they are entitled, which is a concern in itself, I would expect the employer to pay such days in full as part of the final payment.
Days of annual leave are enshrined in the UAE Labour Law and employees are entitled to an annual leave of two days per month once they have completed six months of service and 30 days if they have completed a year of service.
These days of leave include official public holidays and no employee should be prevented from taking leave to which they are entitled.
I have read your articles about employers passing on recruitment costs to employees and am curious to know if this applies to training costs as well. My employer asked me to sign a training bond when I joined the company. The bond is valid for five years. Since I am quitting the job after three years, the employer said I will have to repay two fifths of the bond’s value.
Would training charges be considered recruitment costs under the UAE Labour Law? FL, Dubai
On multiple occasions, this column has covered the topic of the illegality of an employer demanding that an employee pays for all visa and recruitment costs. This is a different question and there is nothing in the UAE Labour Law that specifically relates to the recovery of training costs.
I am aware that a number of employers add such clauses but it can be a grey area.
Article 135 of the UAE Labour Law states: “The employer may deduct from the gratuity any amounts due to him by the worker.”
This means that provided there is a clearly worded agreement signed by both parties which clarifies the amounts payable and when they are payable, it is legal for an employer to deduct training costs.
The grey area here is the period of this training bond. It is likely that a period of five years will be viewed as excessive if the employee files a case in court as the expectation is that such clauses apply over one or two years only.
My understanding is that an employer will find it harder to justify the cost of in-house training as opposed to recognised external training schemes and professional qualifications, as the cost of the former would be harder to quantify in monetary terms.
In this particular case, someone who has been with an employer for three years or more could argue that the training bond’s timespan is excessive and that the written agreement falls foul of Article 7 of the UAE Labour Law. The article states: “Every provision contradicting the provisions hereof, even if precedent to the effective date thereof, shall be deemed void, unless it is more advantageous to the worker.”
It could be argued that the period of time required by the employer for repayment of costs is not advantageous to the worker in this case and it is, therefore, open to challenge.
I left the UAE to return home but lost my UAE driving licence. I plan to travel back to the UAE on business later this year. Can I get a replacement licence when I am there next on a tourist visa? HI, Egypt
While it is a relatively straightforward process to obtain a replacement driving licence if the original has been lost, this option is only available to UAE residents. When applying for a replacement licence, a residency visa and Emirates identity card are required. Tourists cannot obtain, renew or replace a UAE driving licence.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only