6 months service must to avoid labour ban

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6 months service must to avoid labour ban

If not serving the notice period, employee should pay the remuneration for the prescribed period of notice to the employer as mentioned in the employment contract or offer letter as compensation.

By Ashish Mehta

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Published: Tue 30 Aug 2016, 5:58 PM

I had joined a company in the Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (Saif Zone) as a technician and worked for around 15 days. But I didn't sign my contract of employment with Saif zone authority yet.
Due to the unpleasant work atmosphere, I decided to resign the job. There was a three-month probation period mentioned in the offer letter (which I signed and sent to the employer). I have a few doubts as below:
1. If I give a resignation letter what will be my notice period? Am I legally supposed to work with them the normal notice period?
 2. If I get a job outside the freezone, is there any issue for obtaining a new visa for them once this freezone visa is cancelled ?
 3. If I resign, do I have to pay them any cash like visa charges or 45 days' salary? If it's 45 days' salary, is that based on basic salary or full month salary?

Pursuant to your questions, Saif Zone applies Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Labour Relations of the UAE (the "Labour Law"). We assume that you are working on the visa of your employer issued by Saif Zone and therefore you come under the employment regulations of Saif Zone, even though you have not signed the employment contract with Saif Zone. In accordance with Article 1 of Ministerial Decree 765 of 2015 regarding Rules and Conditions for the Termination of Employment Relations, if you submit your resignation letter to the employer, the employer, at his discretion, may waive off the notice period by mutually terminating your contract. But if your employer is not willing to terminate your employment contract mutually, then the notice period may vary from one month to three months depending on the offer letter and you are supposed to complete the notice period term.
By practice, here in the UAE you may find a new job outside the free zone or in any other free zone. But the concerned free zone authority may impose an employment ban for six months as you have not completed six months of service with your employer in accordance with Article 1(I) 2 (if limited contract) & (II) 1 (if unlimited contract) of Rules and Conditions for granting a permit to a worker for employment by a new employer which states: "The worker and employer mutually consent to terminating the contract during the course of its term, provided the worker has completed a period of no less than six months with the employer; the latter provision is waived for workers who qualify for skill levels 1, 2 and 3, as per the ministry's classification".
You are not required to pay the visa cost to the employer, as it is the responsibility of the employer to bear visa cost. Further as per aforementioned Article 1 of Ministerial Decree 765 of 2015 regarding Rules and Conditions for the Termination of Employment Relations, if you do not serve the notice period you may have to pay compensation to your employer for not serving notice period. The compensation will be the remuneration for the prescribed period of notice in your employment contract or offer letter.
Worker should be given ?airfare on termination
I was employed as a finance manager in a firm in the UAE on May 1, 2015. Under the employment agreement in the UAE (the one which is registered as well as on the letterhead of the firm), I am eligible for return airfare upon termination of contract. My employment included all the family benefit, visas, etc. On January 1, 2016, I was transferred to the branch of the firm based in Saudi Arabia and was employed with Saudi branch effective from January 1, 2016. However, under the arrangement with the firm, I was allowed to retain my UAE resident permit. The UAE firm however stopped paying salary in the UAE bank account (stating some special case under WPS) and accordingly I was paid salary in Saudi Arabia under the KSA WPS.
On June 15, 2016, I resigned from Saudi branch and did the final exit from the country. The Saudi branch denied paying air ticket since I was not flying to home country after final exit (since I had to fly to the UAE to initiate visa cancellation in the UAE). The Saudi branch mentioned that since it was a transfer case from the UAE to the KSA, I was terminated on December 31, 2015, in the UAE. I was never aware of this since my UAE resident permit was still valid until July 2016.
The clauses for airfare are as follows:
Employment contract on firm's letter head: "On termination of your services, providing you are repatriating to your home country, you will be provided an excess baggage allowance to effect shipment of your personal belongings in accordance with the firm's policies & procedures and a one-way economy excursion airfare to your home town for yourself and family. No repatriation benefits will be provided if you leave the firm for another role in the UAE."
Registered employment contract with the ministry:
"The first party shall bear the cost of air ticket at the time of commencing work and also cost of one ticket home at the time of terminating the employment agreement."
Do I have a recourse to UAE law in this matter if the firm in the UAE disagree to pay air ticket?
Pursuant to your questions, we assume that you have documentary evidence to confirm that your employment was terminated on December 31, 2015 by the UAE firm. If you have this proof, it may be treated as arbitrary termination as you were not aware of it and in the pretext of transfer, your firm has terminated you. Article 122 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Labour Relations in the UAE (the 'Labour Law') states: "A worker's service shall be deemed to have been arbitrarily terminated by his employer if the reason for the termination is irrelevant to the worker and, more particularly, if the reason is that the worker has submitted a serious complaint to the competent authorities or has instituted legal proceedings against the employer that has proved to be valid." Further you are entitled for compensation for arbitrary termination based on the Article 123 (a) of the Labour Law which states: "Where a worker is arbitrarily dismissed, the competent court may order the employer to pay him compensation. The court shall assess such compensation with due regard to the nature of the work, the amount of prejudice he has sustained and his period of service, and after investigating the circumstances of the work. The amount of the compensation shall in no case exceed the worker's remuneration for three months calculated on the basis of the last remuneration he was entitled to."
You are entitled for air fare to be paid by the employer in accordance with Article 131 of the Labour Law which states: "An employer shall, on the termination of a worker's contract, defray the cost of returning him to the district from which he was recruited or to any other place agreed upon between the two parties. Where after the termination of his contract, a worker enters the service of another employer, the latter shall defray the worker's travelling expenses on the termination of his service. Subject to the provisions of the preceding sentence, if the employer fails to return the worker or to defray his travelling expenses, the competent authorities shall do so at the employer's expense and may then recover any expenditure incurred in this connection by attachment.
Where the reason for the termination of the contract is attributable to the worker, his travel shall be at his own expense if he has the wherewithal to pay."
You are advised to approach the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation and file a complaint against the firm.
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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