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No need to serve notice if your job contract in UAE says so

Ashish Mehta
Filed on September 22, 2019 | Last updated on September 22, 2019 at 03.56 pm
No, need, to serve, notice, if your job, contract, in UAE, says so

(Alamy Image)

It may be noted that generally, free zone authorities in the UAE may have their own employment rules and regulations.

Q-I am employed by my current employer on an employment contract of unlimited duration wherein I have completed two months of probation period. My employment contract states that either I or my employer can terminate the employment contract during probation without notice period. Recently, I received a job offer from a company in another country and I am eager to take it up. I intend to resign without serving a notice period to my current employer as mentioned in my employment contract. If I tender resignation from current employment during probation period, would it attract an employment ban in the UAE?

Answer

It may be noted that generally, free zone authorities in the UAE may have their own employment rules and regulations. However, if a free zone authority does not have its own set of employment rules and regulations, then the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE ('the Employment Law') and the subsequent ministerial decrees are applicable. As you have not mentioned the free zone where you are employed, therefore your query will be addressed in accordance to the provisions of the Employment Law and the subsequent ministerial decrees.

As per the provisions of Ministerial Decree (765) of 2015 on Rules and Conditions for the Termination of Employment Relations (the 'Ministerial Decree no. 765 of 2015'), an unlimited duration employment contract is terminated when either the employer or an employee terminates the employment contract any time provided the terminating party notifies the other party and continues to abide by the contractual obligations for the duration of the notice period. This is in accordance with Article 1 (II) (2) of the Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015 which states: "An employment relation between employer and employee may be terminated as follows:

II - In the case of unlimited (not term-bound) contracts, an employment relation is terminated if any of the following instances occur:

2- One party acts, at any time, to terminate the contract subject to notifying the other party and continuing to honour contractual obligations for the duration of the notice period, which cannot be less than one month and cannot exceed three months."

It may be pertinent to note that the party who terminates the employment contract unilaterally without adhering to the conditions listed in Article 1 (II) (2) of the Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015 may have to bear the legal consequences for early termination of employment. This is in accordance with Article 1 (II) (3) of the Ministerial Decree which states: "An employment relation between employer and employee may be terminated as follows:

II - In the case of unlimited (not term-bound) contracts, an employment relation is terminated if any of the following instances occur:

3- One party (employer or employee) acts unilaterally to terminate the contract, without complying with the legal conditions described in (2) above and without reason of non-compliance by the other party; in this case the terminating party bears any legal consequences of early termination.

In all instances of termination described in this Article (1), either employer or employee may refer to the judicial system to seek indemnification or recover other rights under the Federal Employment Law and its implementing decrees."

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, an employment contract may be terminated by serving the notice period as mentioned in the employment contract. Since your employment contract specifically states that during probation period both employer and employee may terminate the employment contract without notice period, there may be no requirement of serving notice period to your employer related to termination of your employment agreement. However, the said provision of your employment contract may be only valid if it is registered with the concerned free zone authority.

If your employment contract is not registered with the free zone authority concerned, you may have to serve the notice period in accordance with the aforementioned provisions of Ministerial Decree No. 765 of 2015.  Further, even if your employment contract is registered with the free zone authority and your employer disagrees to terminate your employment contract without notice period stating that the provision of the 'no notice period' is not within the provisions of Employment Law or ministerial decrees then you are entitled to contest the decision of your employer in accordance with Article 7 of the Employment Law. It states: "Any stipulations contrary to the provisions of this law, even if it was made prior to its commencement, shall be null and void unless they are more advantageous to the employee." Based on this, the clauses related to notice period in your employment contract may be  null and void. However, such clause may still suffice as it is advantageous to the employee.

However, termination of employment within six months of joining the job may attract an employment ban on you to work in the free zone where you are employed or anywhere in the UAE in future for a specified period of time as decided by the free zone concerned or Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). Article 1(II) (1) of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015 on Rules and Conditions for granting permit to an employee for employment by a new employer, states: "The two parties (worker and employer) mutually consent to terminating the contract provided the worker has completed a period of no less than six months with the employer; the latter provision is waived for workers that qualify for skill levels 1, 2 and 3, as per the ministry's classification."

Based on the aforementioned provision of Ministerial Decree No. 766 of 2015, the free zone authority concerned or the MOHRE may impose an employment ban on you in the free zone or in the UAE in future if you are not a skilled professional as mentioned in MOHRE's classification. However, even if the free zone concerned bans you from employment for a stipulated period, you may look for job in other free zones or mainland companies in the UAE. Further, imposing of employment ban is absolute discretion of the MOHRE or the free zone authority concerned. 

Know the law

Termination of employment within six months of joining the job may attract an employment ban on the employee to work in the free zone where he is employed or anywhere in the UAE in future for a specified period of time.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. 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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