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Maternity leave is woman employee’s legal right

K K Sarachandra Bose (Legal View) / 13 June 2011

I have been working in a construction company in Sharjah for the last two years. When I applied for my maternity leave, my manager told me that I am not entitled to it. Is this right? Please advise.

As per the UAE Labour Law, a working woman is entitled to 45 days maternity leave with full pay provided she has worked continuously for more than one year. The maternity leave shall be granted with half pay if the woman has not completed one year. The said law also states that at the end of the maternity leave a working woman has the right to extend the leave for a maximum of 100 days without pay. Therefore, you are eligible for maternity leave as per the UAE Labour Law.

Sponsoring parents

I am working as a financial and administrative manager in a company against a monthly salary of Dh12,000. Am I eligible to sponsor my parents for a residence visa? If so, what are the costs and requirements?

As per the guidelines on the humanitarian cases applicable in the UAE, you can sponsor your parents. You may submit the necessary application form with relevant documents and a sum of Dh5,000 deposit per person after obtaining the approval.

Leave salary

How may I calculate my leave salary? The company policy is not clear about my leave salary payment.

A worker shall, for each year of service, be entitled to an annual leave of not less than (i) Two days a month, where the worker’s period of service is more than six months but less than one year (ii) 30 days a year, where the worker’s period of service is more than one year.

Non-competition clause

I work in Dubai and I plan to change my job in September after the end of the current labour contract. The new company management sent me an offer letter in which they mentioned a non-competition term to be included in the contract of employment. What is a non-competition clause? Is this legal?

A labour contract may contain a condition specifying that after the completion of the contract, the employee shall not work with a competitor of the employer. This is to protect the interests of the business of the employer.

The UAE Labour Law states that if the job allotted to the employee allows him to know the employer’s clients or to know the secrets of the job, the employer may stipulate that after the end of his contract, the employee shall not compete with him or share information in any competing project.

A non-competition agreement may be signed before or during the term of the employment, but as per the law, it will only come into effect on termination of the employment contract. The employers may include a clause in the labour contract or sign an additional agreement banning the employees from working for competitors for a certain period. In order to apply non-competition clause certain conditions have to be fulfilled. The employee has to be 21 years old or more at the time of signing the contract. The agreement shall be, as far as time, place and nature of work are concerned, limited to what is necessary to protect the legal interests of the employer. If the job assigned to the employee allows him to know the secrets and know-how of the employer’s business dealings, then the employer may impose non-competition clause.

In the event that the employee works in a company, where such secrecy nature does not apply then the non-competition clause cannot be used.

To impose a non-competition clause against an employee, the non-competition agreement signed between the parties is to be restricted as per the provisions mentioned in the UAE Civil Code and the Labour Law.

Such a stipulation shall not be valid unless it is clearly restricted to certain time, place and type of work, in a sufficiently determined manner so as to constitute a real protection of the legitimate employer’s interests.If the employer terminates the employee or the employee terminates the contract due to a reason that is ascribed to the employer’s fault, then the non-competition conditions shall not be applied against the employee.

K K Sarachandra Bose is a Partner/ Corporate, Commercial and Contract Lawyer at Dar Al Adalah Advocates and Legal Consultants. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, Dubai P.O. Box 11243.

   Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban


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