Ministry warns against starting work before signing labour contract

ABU DHABI — Do not start working for a company until you sign your labour contract. This is the message sent out by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, in a bid to safeguard the rights of employees and prevent exploitation by some unscrupulous employers.

By Nada S. Mussallam

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Published: Thu 23 Sep 2004, 9:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:47 PM

The official warning came yesterday, following a case of an employee who lodged a complaint with the Labour Dispute Department at the ministry against his employer for denying him his salary of one month. He claimed that he worked for the company before signing the labour contract who arbitrarily terminated his services, two days before the expiry of probation period.

Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, the official said the complainant, who was working for a contracting company operating in the capital provided the ministry with evidences, including house rent and transport allowances stating that he was working for the employer for a whole month before the commencement of the probation period specified in the labour contract.

"The ministry has summoned the employer in a bid to reach an amicable settlement for the dispute. However, the employer was sure enough that according to the labour laws and regulations he was only committed to the terms stated in the labour contract. He refused to pay the employee what he claimed," said the official.

The employee has weakened his case by taking up a job without a labour contract, said the official, noting that as per the law the employer has no obligations towards the employee.

Besides, being on a visit visa while joining the company, the legal status of the employee has not served the stance of the employee.

"Faced with the determination of the employer not to pay a single penny, the 'Reconciliation Committee' at the ministry referred the case to the court for quick settlement," said the official.

He revealed that as part of its efforts to protect the rights of employees, the ministry will consider more coordination with other concerned authorities in the country like the Immigration and Residence Department and the Preventive Medicine Department in the best interests of foreign workforce.

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