Legal View

UAE labour law: Will I get an employment ban if I resign during probation period?

Ashish Mehta/Dubai
Filed on August 29, 2021

You may have to compensate your employer by paying up to half of three months of your salary

Question: I am working on a limited contract with a mainland company in the UAE. If I am to quit before completing the probation period, I am told I will get an employment ban. Is this true? Will I also have to pay any monetary compensation to the company? How can I remove a ban if imposed?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, we assume that you are on a six-month probation period with your employer. Further, as you are employed by a mainland company based in the UAE, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 (Employment Law) and Ministerial Decree No. 1,094 of 2016' are applicable.

An employee who is under a limited period of contract may not be able to terminate it until its expiry to avoid any possible employment ban of one year.

This is in accordance with Article 128 of the Employment Law, which states: "Where a non-national employee leaves his work without a valid reason before the expiry of a contract for a limited period, he may not, even with the employer's consent, take up other employment for one year from the date on which he left his work. It shall not be lawful for any other employer who is aware of the fact to recruit such employee or keep him in his service before the expiry of such period."

However, an employer and the employee may mutually agree to terminate a limited period of the employment contract after the completion of six months. This is in accordance with Article 1 (I) (2) of the Ministerial Decree No. 1094 of 2016, which states: "A new work permit may be granted to an employee upon the termination of the said employee's employment relation in the following instances:

Term contracts:

2. The two parties (the employee and the employer) mutually agree to terminate the contract during the course of its term, provided the employee has completed a period of no less than six months with the employer who brought him from outside the state. These requirements shall not apply to:

(an) Employees that qualify for skill levels 1, 2 and 3

(b) Employees that qualify for skill levels 4 and 5, if their new work permits are granted to work in works requiring skill levels 1, 2 or 3, and if they have the required qualifications for such skill-level jobs.

(c) Employees that qualify for skill levels 4 and 5, if their old jobs were inside the state and if they completed a period of no less than six months with the old employer.

(d) Employees who are on the sponsorship of their families and who satisfy the requirements for work permits.

(e) Employees who are applying for a new work permit to work for the same establishment that cancelled their work permit, with no new work permit resulting from such cancellation, or for any other establishment owned by the same employer, severally or jointly with others."

Further, if you intend to resign - and as your employment contract is limited in nature - you may have to compensate your employer by paying up to half of three months of your salary as stated in Article 116 of the Employment Law.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, if you intend to resign from your employment, it is recommended that you may opt for the same once you complete six months. Further, you may take legal advice from the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation pertaining to skill level and salary criteria to join new employment.

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: Readers may e-mail their questions to: or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.

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