Let’s say you’re no longer happy working with your current job in the United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, etc.) You want to have a change of scenery and a change of employer because you believe it will be better for your productivity and your salary. How will you do it? Will you be able to do it amid the existing UAE Employment and Labor Laws?
To all expats in the UAE, please be advised and make sure that you end your contract properly to avoid a labour ban or even an immigration ban in the UAE. It’s important that you keep your employment record clean and in order to do so, you can simply follow proper procedure so that you will leave your company in good terms and you can still work in the future in Dubai or in other emirates in UAE.
Avoid an Employment Ban in the UAE: Resign Properly so You Won’t Get a Labour Ban
It’s important to note that while you cannot predict your employer’s actions once you file your resignation, you can follow proper process so you can protect your rights and be in accordance with the Labour Law.
Open Ended Contracts
Based on the new laws being implemented in the UAE, you must first know what kind of contract you are tied to. If you are working (legally, as we presume – with the proper documents) on an open-ended contract and you do not find the employment gainful anymore, you may seek termination of the employment following the usual company procedures. You will no longer have to be tied for six months at the least, in order to avoid an employment ban.
Furthermore, you will no longer have to pay for the repatriation costs of the employer who hired you. Based on Article 131 of the UAE Labour Law, a person who is not able to pay for his repatriation cost will no longer be liable to pay for the employer’s cost. If the employee cannot buy a ticket home and it has been proven and accredited by the authorities, the last employer will have no choice but to provide for his ticket. Furthermore, this right is emphasized under Article 6 of Ministerial Order 52 of 1989.
If you are looking to terminate your open-ended contract you have to observe the following steps and considerations:
- You can terminate the contract with mutual consent. Make sure your employer knows you are leaving within the specified period of time.
- Give a notice to your employer – usually a period of 1 month to 3 months would suffice. Have your resignation letter ready and have it filed in the office.
- Honor all contractual obligations even after the issuance of the notice. Your resignation letter does not let you go to become unproductive. You still are bound by your contract – you still have to work and observe its parameters.
- Make sure that you will surrender all the necessary documents to your employer at the time of your departure. Surrender your employment ID, reports and other important documents requested by the employer.
- Ask for your passport after the lapse of your notice. Make sure your employer will hand it over to you to avoid any hassles with the local authorities.
- Secure a certification from your employer declaring the last day of your stay in the UAE. Usually this is a 30-day grace period. You need to observe this grace period otherwise you might end up overstaying.
If you are working on a fixed contract and you wish to terminate your employment with your employer, it will be a different matter altogether. UAE Labor Law states that you can only terminate a fixed contract if you satisfy the following considerations:
- The contract was not renewed – and is hereby terminated by the employer
- The employer and the employee mutually agree to terminate the contract during the term of the agreement
- The employer or employee unilaterally acts to terminate the contract before the expiration of the agreement. Provided, that he or she follows the following legal steps:
1. The terminating party shall notify the other party with a formal written document stating the need to terminate and the expected period of termination (usually one to three months)
2. The terminating party must still honor the contractual obligations that he is still legally bound to.
3. The terminating party can be asked for indemnification by the other party in the agreement. However, statutes have a caveat: if the terminating party cannot pay, the other party cannot press for indemnification.
- Should the parties terminate the duration of the contract without complying with the legal mandate, then the terminating party will have to suffer the legal consequences of his action.
Other Issues: 30-Day Grace Period, Overstaying and Fines
If you overstay after the 30-day grace period, you will be fined by the local authorities. You need to secure another visa or work permit within the said period to continue to work on legally in the territory. Otherwise, you will be liable to receive fines and/or punishments in accordance with the existing laws. Financial penalties range from AED 125 for the first day of overstay and an additional AED 25 for each succeeding day. That is a steep price to pay.
Company policies also differ should it be on a moments’ notice. You would have to find out about the ruling and policy of your company with regards to such instances. It is possible that meritorious instances would be honored following a clean and clear agreement between the employer and the employee.
Should it really come to the termination of your contract whether due to personal reasons or financial reasons, you must be able to observe the prevailing rules and steps mandated by UAE’s Ministry of Labour. It is for your own protection to follow the rules and regulations because not doing so would trigger legal repercussions which would affect your livelihood in the future.
For added reference, you can check out more information about the labour law from the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation through their website here – www.mohre.gov.ae.
Again, please try to observe the rules and regulations and get acquainted with the law. So long as you understand your rights, you will not be afraid to take necessary steps when quitting your job or terminating your contract. Good luck!