End-of-service benefits: Know your legal rights while leaving job in UAE
Request your employer to pay your severance pay (gratuity) in accordance with Article 132 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.
Q: I'm working in a general contracting company in Abu Dhabi for the last four years. I submitted my resignation to my company through e-mail 20 days ago.
Now, I received a copy of electronic work permit cancellation for my signature, but still I am yet to receive my end-of-service benefits and experience certificate.
Should I sign the cancellation document and send it to the company? Or does the employer have to clear all the dues first?
A: You may request your employer to settle all your end-of-service benefits before you sign the work permit cancellation document.
Request your employer to pay your severance pay (gratuity) in accordance with Article 132 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating Employment Relations in the UAE ('the Employment Law'). You may also ask for all the salaries due, including the pay for the annual leave days that you have not taken, in accordance with Article 79 of the Employment Law. Further, you are entitled to repatriation costs as mentioned in Article 131 of the Employment Law and the employer has to provide you with the experience certificate, as mentioned in Article 125 of the Employment Law.
If your employer disagrees to settle your dues and end-of-service benefits prior to signing the work permit cancellation, you may file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
Further, your employer may exercise another option of approaching the ministry to cancel your work permit without your signature on it. In this scenario, you will be notified by the ministry. This is in accordance with Article 1(b) (3) of the Ministerial Resolution No. 724 of 2006 on the Administrative Cancellation of Sponsorship, which states: "The sponsorship shall not be cancelled if the cancellation application was not submitted by the employee. He shall be notified to present himself within a week for the notice date to listen to his due. If he does not come, his dues will be calculated according to the available date from the competent labour directorate, and his sponsorship shall be cancelled without the necessity to listen to him, preserving his right to all that is due to him and guaranteeing that he receives the said dues."
However, if your matter comes before the ministry, based on the aforementioned provision of law, the employer may settle your dues before the ministry. If there is no amicable settlement, the ministry may issue a letter to both you and your employer, which enables you to file an employment case in the court.
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: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.