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Schools can’t charge extra money from parents

Mushtaq Ahmad Jan (Compiled by Ahmed Shaaban) / 30 July 2012



My daughters are studying in an Indian school here. Without prior information, the school is  collecting money other than tuition fee, for a magazine, SMS fees and stationary fees. Is this legal? If no, to whom should I complain?

Generally, a school should not charge any money in addition to what is mentioned in the fee schedule, as approved by relevant authorities.

In the UAE, private schools can’t charge whatever they want from the parents. For instance, in Dubai, the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) is governing the fee structure of the private schools. Therefore, before any hike in fee or charging any amount from the parents, the school must take approval for the same.

Likewise, each emirate has its own regulatory authority which governs the affairs of private schools including fees.

Article 9 of the UAE Ministerial Resolutions No. 29 of 2008 describes the parameters for charging fee by private schools, which states: “the ministry will determine the tuition fee of a private school at the opening of the school and thereafter every three years.”

Therefore, the school cannot charge any extra money without the approval of the relevant authority. You may raise the complaint with the Regulations and Compliance Commission at the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in case of Dubai or to any councils and educational zones in other emirates, the address of which may be obtained from the UAE Ministry of Education. You can also file a complaint via email with the ministry at moe@moe.gov.ae.


End of service benefits

I have been working in a shipping company for around seven years. I will be 60 years’ old by the first week of November. As far as I know, the Labour Law states that Dh5,000 need to be deposited to stamp the employment visa after 60 years. Now, I have been offered a job by one of the companies and they need my service urgently.

Can I resign now from my present company and join the new organisation? Would it affect my gratuity and other terminal benefits? Is this 60-year retiring age limit applicable in other GCC countries?

Since you have completed more than two years with your current company, you can resign the job any time with a thirty-day notice as per Article 117 of the UAE Labour Law or otherwise in accordance with the terms and conditions provided in your employment contract.

Furthermore, your resignation from your current employment will not affect your gratuity and other end of employment benefits. At the time of resignation, you will be entitled to full gratuity in accordance with Article 132 of the UAE Labour Law.

According to the said article, “The employee who has completed one year or more in continuous service is entitled to the end of service benefits at the end of his service at the firm. Days of absence from work without pay are not included in computing the period of service, and the remuneration is to be calculated as follows:-

1.    Twenty one days’ pay for each year of the first five years of service.

2.    Thirty days’ pay for each additional year, provided that the entire total remuneration shall not exceed two years’ pay.”

We are not specialised in other GCC countries’ laws, therefore, are unable to provide you any suitable legal advice about the question regarding the retirement age there.

However, if you have any specific country in mind, then, you should ask a lawyer in that country about it.


Reducing notice period against contract

I am working in a company and my labour contract is for three years. My contract is unlimited and I have already completed two years of service. In my contract, it is said that I have to give a three-month notice period before resigning. I am planning to quit. Is it possible to give a one-month notice period? If not, what are the consequences?

The established principles of law in the UAE are that the contracting parties must observe all the provisions of the relevant contract and must fulfil their obligations accordingly.

Since three months’ prior notice is mentioned in your employment contract, as per the UAE Labour Law,  you must give three-month prior notice for resigning the job. Otherwise, you will be held responsible for compensation in lieu of notice as per Article 119 of the UAE Labour Law.

According to the article, “If the employer or the employee has failed to serve notice to the other party for termination of the contract or has reduced the notice period, the party obliged to serve the notice shall pay to the other party an indemnity called “Compensation in lieu of notice”, and the indemnity shall be equal to the employee’s pay for the notice period in full or in proportion to the diminished part.”


Additional duty hours for teachers

I work as a teacher in a private school here. Am I obliged to stay over the school timings for staff meetings, parent-teacher meetings or for any other workshops without any additional remuneration?

Its depends upon the terms and conditions mentioned in your employment contract and the nature of job as the general principles of law states that a contract shall not be restricted to the obligations mentioned therein but will also include other obligations which is imposed either by the law, custom or the  nature of the job.

Article 246 (2) of the UAE Civil Transactions Law provides that “the contract shall not be restricted to the liability of the contracting party under it, but it shall also include other requirements according to the law, custom and nature of the transaction”.

Therefore, if these extra duties are either mentioned in your employment contract and are the necessary requirements of your job, then, you have to perform them without any additional remuneration.

However, if either the extra duty is not mentioned in your employment contract, or is not the necessary requirement of your job, then you are not supposed to perform it. 


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

 
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