No UAE employment ban if you move to job paying more than Dh12,000

Keren Bobker advises a worker who wants to move to a new job after more than 18 months in the current role.

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I have been working with my current employer on a limited contract for more than 18 months now. Please advise whether the employer can enforce a one-year ban on me should I choose to move to another company. The new opportunity is for the same role as an engineer and the salary offered is Dh12,000 per month. I hold a bachelor's degree. MMA, Dubai

If someone leaves employment having been with a company for fewer than two years they can receive an employment ban, but if they have a degree and will be earning more than Dh12,000 in the new job, a ban would be applied only if they left within the first 12 months. There is an additional issue here, however, as MMA is on a fixed contract. If he wishes to leave before the end of the set contract term he will be obliged to pay a penalty to his employer that, according to Article 116 of UAE Labour Law, “may not exceed half a month’s pay for a period of three months or for the remaining period of contract, whichever is shorter” for breaking the contract terms. This is the equivalent to 45 days’ pay. MMA may find it easier to wait until the end of the fixed term before leaving, but should still give his employer 30 days’ notice that he will not be renewing.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai with more than 20 years of experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE.

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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