No need to pay visa costs when you quit your job in the UAE
I joined a company last month but I do not like the job. In my labour contract, it mentions a probation period of six months and says that if I want to resign I must give one month’s notice. I understand this, but in my offer letter they added a minimum period for the visa – which is two years – and it says that if I leave in this period they have the right to recover the visa costs. This was only mentioned in the offer letter and not in the government labour contract. If I resign from my job within three months of starting employment, will I need to pay the visa costs and will a ban be imposed on me? My visa says that I am an engineer. MB, Dubai
If an employee wishes to resign during their probationary period they must give proper notice in accordance with UAE Labour Law, which stipulates a minimum notice period of 30 days. It is not surprising that this clause is not in the government contract as it is illegal. It was made clear in Ministerial Order 52 of 1989, Article 6 that all expenses incurred in taking on an employee must be borne by the employer and cannot be passed on to the employee. Should any employer attempt to do this then a case should be registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation directly (helpline number 800 665) or via a local labour office.
It appears that MB is on a fixed-term contract, so not only must he give notice, he would also be liable to pay a penalty for breaking the terms of the contract by leaving early. Per Article 116 of Labour Law “ … the worker shall be bound to compensate the employer for the loss incurred thereto by reason of the rescission of the contract, provided that the amount of compensation does not exceed the wage of half a month for the period of three months, or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract.” This penalty equates to approximately 45 days of pay, calculated on basic pay only, and that is separate to the notice period.
The rules regarding employment bans are stricter for those employees on limited-term contracts compared to those on unlimited contracts but it partly depends on the action taken by the employer. The company can seek to impose a ban of up to six months.
I employ a housemaid and want to know if she has to be provided with an end of service gratuity when she leaves. RB, Sharjah
While a law has just been approved by the Federal National Council of UAE to properly protect the interests of domestic staff in respect of hours of work and paid holiday, this does not include the introduction of an end of service gratuity. This is only required for employees who fall under the remit of UAE Labour Law. However, it is not uncommon for employers of domestic staff to make such a payment on a voluntary basis.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years’ experience. Contact her at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.
The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.
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Updated: June 10, 2017 04:00 AM