A reader in Dubai asks: My friend is an engineer and joined a company in Dubai. After joining, he found that the company has not paid salaries for 4 months to all employees. There were also a lot of pending dues for sub-contractors and suppliers. No one i
Questions answered by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Bahr Advocates and Legal Consultants.
The reader did not mention the type of labour contract he has. However, I believe he is referring to a limited period contract. If he had approached the Ministry of Labour, it would have requested him to compensate his employer as per Article No 116 of the Labour Law.
However, in general we would like to clarify that the questioner has made a mistake by submitting his resignation in such a manner, especially as he is under a limited period contract. He should have instead filed a complaint with the Ministry of Labour illustrating the company’s position of failing to pay salaries on time. In this case, the ministry will make the necessary investigations into that complaint, and maybe the ministry’s response would be in favour of the questioner, as it would prevent him from being harassed because of his resignation.
In other words, terminating the limited period contract by the questioner would be considered a violation to the Labour Law. Consequently as per Article No 116 of the UAE Labour Law, if the limited period contract is terminated by the employee for reasons other than those stated in Article No 121, then the employee would be liable to compensate the employer for any losses he incurs due to termination of the contract, provided that the compensation amount shall not be more than the wage of half a month for three months or the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter; that is all unless otherwise stated in the contract. Thus, the Ministry of Labour shall impose a ban for one year against the employee for such a violation if requested by the employer.
As for the employer’s demand to bear the visa expenses, such an act violates the Labour Law and the Ministry of Labour does not permit such an act as those expenses should be incurred by the employer. However, in such a situation, I advise the reader to solve the matter amicably with the employer and get him to provide an NOC letter in order to avoid the ban and be able to transfer to another new sponsor.
Question: A reader in Dubai asks: Although my resident visa is only 7 months old, my old company’s boss asked me to resign. So I submitted a month’s resignation notice. My new company had sought approval and cleared the visa transfer with the old company beforehand and interviewed me and then offered me a proper contract. The old company never provided me a reliable document. My passport, degree certificate and one-andhalf-month’s salary are still with the old company which is threatening to ban me for a year. This is an exploitation of my gullibility and also an abuse of human rights. Please advise what should I do.
Answer: First of all, I would like to state that the reader’s period at work is too short. Consequently, the act of seeking to change the sponsor during such period, without any reason, is considered by the Ministry of Labour as a violation of the Labour Law, as it would affect the sponsor negatively.
This is because despite the Ministry of Labour’s keenness on protecting the employee’s rights, it is also keen on protecting the employers from such damages. As for the reader’s enquiry about the employer’s right to retain the passport of the employees, this act is in violation of the law as the employer is not authorised to retain the employee’s passport for whatever reason. The employee may file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour seeking his passport along with the other personal papers, which should be released by the employer upon the end of service period. The employee may also claim to receive his delayed salaries, however I advise the reader to seek an amicable solution with the employer to avoid a ban.
Question: A reader in Dubai asks: I am a British citizen working as a sales rep for the past nine years and have renewed my residence/working visa with the same employer three times. This current employment visa will expire shortly, and I am considering not renewing my residence visa with my current employer since I am looking for a better job and package. Please be kind enough to enlighten me with regard to the following questions. My original contract does not include any clause regarding my not taking up any other employment in the UAE. Do I need to submit an official resignation letter? Will I need an NOC letter from my current employer (considering my visa will be expiring)? Can my current employer or Ministry of Labour apply a ban on my passport? Am I entitled to a repatriation ticket?
Answer: I would like to state that the Ministry of Labour is currently requiring employees to obtain NOC letters from the old sponsors in case of visa transfer no matter how many years of service he/she completes. Thus, the reader is posed with two options:
a) To obtain a NOC letter from his employer in an amicable way or
b) To submit a written resignation to his employer with a one month’s notice period as per law or as otherwise specified in the labour contract. In case the questioner fails to obtain the NOC letter from his employer, then the Ministry, in such cases, will apply a six-month ban against the employee, which will prevent the employee from working or transferring to another sponsor during the term of the ban.