Q & A’s on UAE Employment Law

1. Does an employee’s resignation require the employer’s consent?

The resignation of an employee is valid under all circumstances and even where the employer does not approve of the resignation, the Labour Law does not require the consent of the employer for the employee to resign from their position. The employee should provide the requisite notice in accordance with the employment contract under which they are employed.

2. What are my rights on termination of employment?

Many employees are uncertain of their rights upon termination of employment and when in doubt, the employee should as a matter of course refer to their employment contract. The amount of compensation the employee should receive upon termination will differ according to the employee’s specific circumstances. Where the employee is dismissed arbitrarily, the employee can expect to receive payment in lieu of the notice period, payment of accrued but untaken annual leave, end of service gratuity and up to three months’ salary for arbitrary dismissal.

3. What is the notice period I must give to my employer?

It is common practice for the notice period to be stipulated in the employment contract. Where there is no notice period expressly provided for and pursuant to the Labour Law, the employee is required to provide minimum 30 day’s written notice prior to the termination of employment. An employer and the employee may expressly agree a longer notice period, however it is not permissible to shorten the notice period to less than the statutory minimum of 30 days. Where the employer or the employee decides to terminate the employment without serving the requisite notice, the relevant party can expect to pay compensation in lieu of notice. An employer may however dismiss an employee for cause and without notice on grounds of gross misconduct.

4. What is the termination process during the probationary period?

A probationary period lasts for a maximum period of six months. Unless expressly stated in the employment contract, the employer may terminate the services of an employee without notice. The employee will not be entitled to end of service gratuity.

5. How is the end of service gratuity calculated?

Pursuant to the Labour Law, the employee is entitled to an end of service gratuity, subject to one year of continuous employment. Gratuity is calculated on the last drawn basic salary and is calculated at twenty (21) days for each year of service up to five (5) years and any subsequent years, gratuity is calculated at thirty (30) days. The maximum amount payable to the employee is a maximum of two years’ salary.

Where the employer has terminated the employment relationship on grounds specified under Article 120 of the Labour Law, gratuity is forfeited by the employee meaning the employer is not under any obligation to pay the gratuity for reasons of gross misconduct.

In terms of a limited contract, otherwise known as a fixed term contract, if the employee leaves voluntarily there is no entitlement to gratuity. With a fixed term, the employee may resign upon completion of five years’ service and full gratuity becomes payable by the employer.

6. Am I entitled to maternity leave under the UAE Labour Law?

Pursuant to Article 30 of the Federal Law No. (8) of 1980, a female worker shall be entitled to maternity leave with full pay for a period of 45 days, including the period preceding and the period following her confinement. The female employee may exercise this right provided she has completed 1-year continuous service. Where the employee has not completed the minimum period of service, she is entitled to maternity leave at half pay.

On the expiry of her maternity leave, a female worker may be absent from her work without pay for a maximum period of 100 consecutive or non-consecutive days if such absence is due to an illness preventing her from resuming her work, and if the illness is confirmed by a medical certificate issued by the medical service specified by the competent health authority. Such leave period shall not be deducted from other periods of leave.

7. Is an employee liable to repay the visa costs upon resignation from the company?

Pursuant to Ministerial Order of 52, Article 6 expenses incurred when taking on an employee must be borne by the employer and may not 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 or via a local labour office.

8. Am I entitled to an air ticket if my employment is terminated?

Pursuant to Article 131 of the Labour Law, an employee is entitled to a flight ticket for repatriation to their home country, or any other location as may be agreed. Where the employee secures a position with a new employer upon expiry of the contract, the employee will forfeit the entitlement and the new employer becomes liable for repatriation at the end of service at the new company.

To obtain more information on UAE Labour Law, please contact one of our experienced lawyers. Email us at info@twslegal.ae or call +971 4 448 4284.

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