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Annual leave cannot be denied for 2 years

Mushtaq Ahmad Jan (Legal View) / 13 August 2012



I am working in a private company here. As per my employment contract, I am entitled to a one-month leave every year. However, the company insists on giving us the said leave every two years. Is this legally accepted? Please advise?

The Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 (“UAE Labour Law”) includes a number of provisions that seek to ensure the physical and mental well being of employees and boost their productivity by granting them days for rest on certain occasions such as weekly offs, and official and annual holidays.

Article 75 of the UAE Labour Law governs the annual leave of an employee. An employee is not entitled to an annual leave if his employment period is less than six months. However, if his employment period is more than six months but less than a year, he shall be entitled to an annual leave of not less than two days for each month.

However, if the employment period is more than a year, he is entitled to 30 days annual leave. Therefore, the duration of annual leave shall not be decreased as the right to annual leave is granted by the law. Article 75 states:

“The employee must be granted an annual leave during each year of service which may not be less than:

1.   Two days per month with respect to any employee with more than six months and less than one year of service.

2.   Thirty days per annum with respect to any employee whose period of service exceeds one year. In the event of termination of an employee’s service, he shall be entitled to an annual leave depending on the number of months completed in the last year of service.”

The employer has the right to specify the beginning of the annual leave and he can divide the leave into two parts, when necessary, in order to ensure smooth operation of the organisation/company. Article 76 states: “The employer, at his discretion, may determine the date for the commencement of annual leave and, when necessary, he may decide to divide the leave in two parts at the most, except in cases of juveniles, where vacation may not be divided in parts.”

In such an event, the leave may be forwarded to the next year, but it may not be suspended for more than two years and the employee will be entitled to sixty days annual leave in the next year if not paid in cash in lieu of the leave for his working days. Article 78 states: “The employee shall receive his basic pay in addition to housing allowance, if any, for the annual leave days.  However, if the exigencies of work necessitate that the employee works during his annual leave in whole or in part, and the period of leave during which he has worked has not been carried forward to the next year, the employer ought to pay him his wage in addition to cash in lieu of the leave for his working days based on his basic pay.

“It shall be unlawful in any circumstances to employ a worker during his annual leave more than once in two successive years.”

Keeping in view the above-mentioned provisions of the UAE Labour Law, your employer is not authorised to decrease the annul leave to 30 days every two years as the right of annual leave is granted by the law.

Employer cannot recover Visa renewal cost

I have been working as a marketing executive in a foodstuff trading company since 1998. My residence visa was renewed in February 2012, but my labour card is expiring in February 2013 and my job contract is unlimited. Recently, due to some health problems of my father in India, I was unable to continue my work in Dubai, and hence submitted my resignation giving a 30-day notice period, which the company has accepted. I wish to cancel my visa and travel back to India. But the company told me they would impose a one-year ban and recover my salary for 45 days towards my visa renewal charges. Is this legal?

It is not legal for your employer to recover the visa’s cost if you have given 30-day prior notice unless otherwise provided in your employment contract.

Under UAE laws, if an employee leaves a job without completing two years, then the Ministry of Labour will impose a work ban for six months or for one year if it is imposed by the company and during that time, the individual is not allowed to work in the UAE. Both these situations are not applicable to you as you have completed 14 years in the same company. Furthermore, a work ban is not applicable if the current or new employer is based in a free zone in Dubai.

Salary must not be deducted during vacation

I work as a school nurse here. Our employer said that during vacation, we will not receive any salary and that is for July and August. They will also not shoulder our accommodation charges. I am very worried because that is not what we agreed on or was written in the employment contract. They made us sign a waiver that we will have our two-month vacation without pay. Please advise.

As a general principle of law, a binding contract cannot be changed unilaterally. Article 267 of the UAE Civil Code states: “A binding contract cannot be changed unilaterally except with mutual consent of the parties or by an order of the court or by law”. Therefore, your employer does not have any legal right to deduct your salary or shoulder your accommodation charges if it is provided in your employment contract. Since you have signed the amended waiver, thus, it is binding upon you unless you prove that you have been forced to sign this waiver.

(Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban)

Mushtaq Ahmad Jan is a lawyer at the Global Advocates and Legal Consultants, with a Master Degree in international commercial law, University of Hull, Kingston-upon-Hull, England. Readers may e-mail their questions to: ktedit@emirates.net.ae or send them to (Legal View), Khaleej Times, Dubai P.O. Box 11243.

 
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