Question: I work in a UAE-based mainland company. My work visa states a profession that's different from my actual designation. Does this matter, legally speaking? Will it affect my future employment prospects or career growth? If yes, whom should I raise it with?
Response: Pursuant to your queries, as you are employed by a mainland company in the UAE, the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Employment Law’) and those of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022’) are applicable.
In the UAE, an employer may not assign work which is not relevant to the designation mentioned in the employment contract. However, in the event of an emergency or to rectify critical issues, the employer may assign some other work. This is in accordance with Article 12 (1) of the Employment Law, which states: “An employee may not be assigned another work which is substantially different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, unless such an assignment is necessary or aims to avoid an accident or rectify the consequences thereof, provided that the assignment is temporary as specified by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law."
This can be done, provided the employee agrees in writing. This is in accordance with Article 12(2) of the Employment Law, which states: “An employer may, in cases other than those stated in paragraph (1) above, entrust the employee with a work that is not agreed upon in the employment contract, with the written consent of the employee."
An employer may not assign other work for more than 90 days. This is in accordance with Article 13(1) of the Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022, which states: “Subject to the provisions of Article (12) of the Decree-Law, the worker may be assigned to alternative work that is fundamentally different in nature from the contractually agreed work, as an exception that is considered necessary, or to prevent an accident, or to repair damage caused by the employee. The maximum limit for assigning the employee to such work shall be of 90 days per year.”
It should be further noted that an employee may quit without serving a notice period if the work he/she is doing is different from that agreed in the employment contract. This is in accordance with Article 45(4) of the Employment Law, which states: “The employee may quit work without notice and reserve all his entitlements at the end of the service if the employer entrusts the employee with a work that is substantially different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, without the written consent of the employee, except in cases stated in Article 12 hereof."
Therefore, based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may request the employer to allot you work which suits your designation. Alternatively, you may request your employer to amend your current employment contract. In the event your employer disagrees, you may not be forced to continue working. This is in accordance with Article 14(1) of the Employment Law, which states: “An Employer may not use any means susceptible of obliging or forcing the employee, or threatening him with any penalty, to work for him, or forcing him to do a work or deliver a service against his will.”
Further, you may also consider resigning from your employment without serving notice period as mentioned in Article 45(4) of the Employment Law. However, it is prudent on your part to have documentary evidence stating that you are assigned with work which is not in accordance with your designation in the employment contract. Based on the same, you may file a complaint with Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, stating that your employer has breached the terms mentioned in your contract.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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