Of labour ban and contracts

Of labour ban and contracts

By (Ashish Mehta)

Published: Mon 11 Feb 2013, 9:30 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:20 AM

I am under an unlimited Abu Dhabi visa. But I am planning to resign from my organisation and join another employer. I have completed one year and three months. I now draw a salary of Dh5,500 plus accommodation and transportation. My new employer is offering me a salary of Dh9,000.

  • Will there be any employment ban on me?
  • Am I eligible for any gratuity?
  • Can I ask my old employer to provide me with an air ticket?
  • My employer has asked for a month’s notice. Should I serve the term?
  • Whom do I contact if my employer refuses to cancel the visa?

Article 117 (1) of the Federal Law No 8 of 1980 states: “Both the employer and the worker may terminate a contract of employment of unlimited duration for a valid reason at any time following its conclusion by giving the other party notice in writing at least 30 days before the termination.”

It is learnt that, currently, the Ministry of Labour does not impose a ban on the employee if the employee has completed one year of continuous employment with its current employer. Since you have completed continuous employment for over one year with your current employer, there should be no employment ban on you in case you wish to resign from your current employment.

  • Also, you are employed on an unlimited employment contract and have completed more than one year but less than three years of employment. Therefore you should be entitled to one-third gratuity in accordance with the provisions of Article 137 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 which states that: “A worker who is bound by a contract of unlimited duration resigns after continuous service of not less than one year and not more than three years shall be entitled to one-third of the normal gratuity.”
  • In this case, the employee is resigning from the employment and therefore in accordance with article 131 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 the employee shall bear the cost of air travel to its home country. However, if the employment contract between the employer and the employee obligates the employer to pay such cost, then the cost of returning the employee to its home country shall be borne by the employer.
  • Article 117 Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 states a notice period of 30 days is to be given, by either the employer or the employee depending on who wishes to terminate the contract. Therefore you may serve the 30 days notice period.
  • You may approach the Ministry of Labour in case the employer refuses to cancel your visa.

I am a qualified chartered accountant from India currently working in the glass fabricating industry in the UAE under a limited period contract of two years since July 2012. I am on a mechanist visa. I wish to change this job as the current job profile in this company does not suit me. My queries are: a) Will any ban apply to me? b) If I get a ban, what are the consequences I have to bear? Can a ban be lifted considering my professional degree?

Since you have not completed one year of employment with the current employer, the employer may make an attempt to impose a ban on you. However, in the event your employer desires to impose a ban, it could be strongly contested by you on the basis of your qualification of a chartered accountant, provided such qualification document is duly notarised and legalised from the country you obtained such qualification.

  • In case you are imposed with an employment ban, you may contact the Ministry of Labour to lift the ban. You may get the ban lifted based on your professional qualification.

I have been working for a contracting company in Dubai since 1996 on a limited contract. Now that I have completed 16 years, I would like to cancel my visa and go back to my home country. As per the labour contract, 30 days notice is required. My current residence visa expires on February 23 and my labour card April 2. My company is now strictly enforcing the law of deducting 45 days salary in case of breach of contract.

  • I would like to know when I should give notice.
  • In my case is it the visa expiry date or labour card expiry date?

In this case, you are not terminating the employment contract as stated above in your question. You simply do not intend to renew your employment contract upon its expiry. Therefore you may check your employment contract on the notice period you are required to give to the employer if you do not wish to renew the limited period employment contract, upon its expiry. The employer may not unilaterally decide to deduct 45 days salary in case of breach of employment contract if the employment contract does not permit the employer to do so.

  • The labour card expiry date shall be applicable.

My brother earlier worked with a Dubai company for eight months. He resigned and cancelled the visa and went to India last December.

  • For how many months will he get a labour ban?
  • He has passed only the SSLC (Grade 10). If he comes on visit visa can he get employment?

Since your brother had not completed one year of service, he may be imposed with a ban by the Ministry of Labour for four months.

  • He may come on a visit visa but he may be allowed to take up employment only upon completion of ban period.

I joined a Free Zone company for Dh2500 per month as an office assistant one month back. And now I have got a good offer from a Non Free Zone company with Dh5000 per month.

  • Can I resign and join the new company?
  • What about the UAE employment ban in my case?

Since you have not completed the probation period of your employment, you may resign without serving the notice period required to resign. Currently your visa is issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (immigration department); not by the Ministry of Labour as you are employed by a Free Zone company. You may resign and join an entity outside the Free Zone where your visa will be issued by the Ministry of Labour.

  • You have not specified the name of the Free Zone where your current employer is located. Generally speaking, you should not get a ban from the immigration department at the time of cancellation of your current visa. However, prior to resigning you may confirm this with the Free Zone who has issued your visa as different Free Zone may follow different policy on this matter.

Ashish Mehta, LLB, F.I.C.A., M.C.I.T., M.C.I.Arb., is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates, a legal consultancy firm in Dubai. He also practises in India, United Kingdom and Singapore. He has worked with international and commercial legal procedures, providing analysis and counselling on complex legal documents and policies such as commercial transactions, securitisation, real estate acquisitions, financial restructuring for distressed assets, mergers and acquisitions, arbitration and litigation issues. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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