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UAE Labour Law: How much job termination salary are you entitled to?

UAE courts tend to favour employment contracts that are more favourable to employee

new-uae-labour-law-rules-post

The amount of money that is given to an employee on termination can vary depending on several factors, say UAE-based legal experts. Knowing the law, therefore, is vital.

When in doubt, employees should refer to their contracts, which should specify the amount that will be due to them on termination.

“It [compensation that one is supposed to receive upon termination] varies depending on the circumstances of each case,” says Jamie Liddington, Head of Employment at legal firm Hadef & Partners.

“An employee who is dismissed arbitrarily can expect to receive an award of compensation to include (among other contractual entitlements) – payment in lieu of any unpaid part of the notice period; payment in lieu of accrued but untaken annual leave; up to three months’ wages as compensation for arbitrary termination and end of service gratuity,” he told Emirates 24|7.

“Each employee’s notice period should be written in the contract of employment. All employees must be paid their full salary and benefits for the duration of the contractual notice period until their termination date,” says Thenji Macanda, Senior Associate at Taylor Wessing (Middle East) law firm.

What the law saysuae-labour-law-2015-expatmoney (1)

As per Macanda, if no notice period is specified in the contract of employment, then according to Article 117 of the UAE Labour Law, at least 30 days’ written notice should be provided. This period differs for daily paid workers who have been employed for less than 5 years.

“Article 118 of the UAE Labour law states that a contract of employment will continue to be valid for the notice period and the parties cannot agree to reduce or dispense with the notice period. If, however, an employer reduces the notice period and terminates the employee before the end of the notice period then in accordance with Article 119 of the UAE Labour law, the employee must be paid compensation in lieu of notice equivalent to the notice period. The parties can increase the notice period and if this is done, then the employee must be paid their contractual pay for the duration of the notice,” she elaborates.

When can your employer forfeit your termination compensation?

The law fully protects workers in the country but there are certain clauses under which there will be notice period from the employer’s side and subsequently no payments.

Liddington clarifies that employees who are dismissed “for cause” (under Articles 88 or 120 of the Labour Law) will not be entitled to receive notice of termination (or payment in lieu of notice) and they are likely to forfeit the end of service gratuity.

Contract letter v/s Labour Law – what will hold?

What will hold – the contract letter that is signed between the employer and the employee or the labour law of the country in case of termination? Again, there is no clear cut verdict that can be followed here but the courts usually uphold the one that is more favourable to employees.

“Where there is inconsistency or conflict between the company supplementary contract and the Ministry of Labour contract/free zone contract, the courts tend to favour the employment contract that is more favourable to the employee,” says Macanda.

“As an example, if the company supplementary contract sets out a two month notice period (which is over and about the one month statutory notice set out in the Labour Law), the company will be held to the longer notice period of two months. We always recommend to employers that they should strive to ensure that the all contracts mirror each other as far as possible to avoid uncertainly,” she adds.

The Hadef expert says ideally, the Labour courts will allow the employee to rely on whichever (contract or Labour Law) is most favourable.

“Both the standard form (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization or free zone) employment contract and any supplemental private contract are potentially enforceable documents and to the extent that the terms of any contract are less advantageous to the employee than the Labour Law, they will not be valid or enforceable.

“In the event that the terms of the contract(s) are more favourable than the Labour Law, the courts will apply the more favourable contractual term.  Where the terms of the standard form contract conflict with the terms of the private contract, the courts’ approach is to allow employees to rely on the more favourable of the two conflicting terms,” he adds.

COURTESY : Emirates 24/7

Revealed: Number of fixed-term and non-fixed term jobs approved in UAE

Ministry of Labour issued over 233,000 labour contracts in January, 75% are non-fixed term

The Ministry of Labour has reviewed over 250,000 job offers presented by private sector firms since the beginning of this year, and has issued 233,000 labour contracts, of which 75 percent are of non-fixed term.

Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Labour Affairs, said, “The number of job offers printed during the last month confirms the clarity and ease of a working relationship between employers and workers in accordance with the newly launched Decrees, which aims to establish and promote a balanced and productive working relationship between both ends, based on cooperation and transparency, in order to preserve rights.”

He said: “Workers must look into job offers and annexes in their preferred languages before signing the contracts to reach a healthy work relationship between both parties; annexes must be reviewed as they hold a number of labour laws and amendments.”

Al Suwaidi said the ministry has ratified a total of 233,190 new and renewed labour contracts during January, of them 75 percent were non-fixed term, equal to over 175,790, and fixed-term contracts reached 57,400.

“The rise in non-fixed term contract numbers indicates that employers have identified their choice of that type of relationship in accordance with the new Decrees, something contrary to that which prevailed in the labour market previously, as fixed-term contracts are considered the most commonly used by employers back then,” he said.

Bin Deemas believes that the picking fixed-term contracts applies mostly to labourers as it may seem that the nature of their occupations requires that type of contract, which carries both parties agreement to abide by legal responsibilities between each other, especially in the event of a party deciding to violate the terms of the contract or wish to end it without the consent of the other party.

Al Suwaidi said, “Conditions that must be followed in the event that one of the parties decided to end a fixed-term contract during the renewal period, starts by notifying the other party before the date of termination (in a specified period agreed by both ends) not less than one month and not exceeding three months, where those who decided to terminate the contract must complete the notice period then pay agreed dues not exceeding the total remuneration of three months’ salary, and this applies for both sides.”

Ministry tells employers to keep original job contracts

The Ministry of Labour called on employers to keep the original job offer contracts, signed by both parties, in case of legal disputes where the worker may deny the signature or thumbprint on the document.

The ministry has begun implementing new procedures for issuance of work permits where employers are obliged to provide the job offer and annexes containing a comprehensive description of rights and duties between both parties. The documents must be signed (or bear the thumbprint, depending on job classification) after which a copy of the job offer should be presented to obtain an authorization to enter the country followed by the issuance of a work permit and signing of the contract.

The ministry praised the reaction of many companies to the newly launched decrees that have been applied since January, as per the directives of Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour.

Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, assistant undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the ministry, said; “Many of the establishments that have applied for new work permits under the new decisions proved their commitment to establishing a transparent working relationship with workers who were brought from abroad, therefore, they proved their sincere commitment to protecting workers through innovating new methods that will monitor the workers’ signature/thumbprint and follow up on all processes.”

“Since the implementation of the new decisions, the ministry cooperated with a number of enterprises that have applied for new work permits in order to determine the procedures followed to brief workers on job offers. Officials in some of these facilities said they dispatched HR employees to a labour-sending country to closely brief the workers on job offers and then signed it followed by a photograph for documentation purposes.”

He said: “Others contacted the employment agency in one of the Asian countries that had briefed workers on job offers, watch them sign it upon acceptance and then forwarded the letters to the concerned party to issue a work permit.”

Some employers have gone beyond the normal requirements and documented the employees’ signatures on the contracts by photographing them while they are signing.

Bin Deemas called on workers to contact the ministry in case they find a false signature on the job offer right before signing the labour contract. In such cases, employers are required to bring the original job offer that will then be referred to the court for further inspection.

Employers must keep a close eye on signed job offers and make sure that it has been signed by the worker as the responsibility is the employer’s. However, labour courts are the competent authority to deal with such issues.

The procedures apply to workers residing in the UAE and seek to move from one establishment to another, either by signing the proposed job offer or placing their thumbprint depending on their skill level, all before approaching the ministry to request a work permit.

courtesy : http://www.emirates247.com/

Work permits will not be issued without new contract from 2016

Ministry to refuse work permits without signed unified contracts starting 2016

Dubai: Residents cannot renew their work permits nor will they be issued new permits if an employer fails to provide a signed unified contract starting 2016, the Ministry of Labour revealed on Tuesday.

The unified labour contract, to be implemented from January 1, standardizes employment terms, making them more transparent. The contract is expected to improve regulation and transparency of the UAE labour market.

The contract was drafted by the Ministry as part of the three new decrees, which are aimed at enhancing the UAE labour market conditions and consolidating the contractual nature of labour relations.

All employees across the country will be presented with a unified, standard, employment offer that contains clear and enforceable terms and conditions of employment, prior to the worker’s entry into the UAE.

The contract will need to be signed by both the employer and the worker.

Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, said, “The new measures implement three new decrees issued by Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Labour, recently with regards to regulating the labour market, starting by unifying a contracts model approved by the ministry for all labour relations.”

During a meeting held in Abu Dhabi, attended by 300 employers and government relations representatives, Bin Deemas reviewed the new measures the ministry is implementing to ease the process of extracting work permits for employees coming from outside or those residing in the country, while maintaining rights of both sides.

Labour Mobility

Bin Deemas pointed out that the new procedures of recruiting foreign workers from outside the country on a two-year work visa goes through three stages.

Firstly, the employer applies for quota regardless of the number of workers recruited, the second demands printing the offer letter handed to the worker containing a comprehensive description of their rights and duties, terms and conditions, through “Tas’heel” service centres or through the ‘MoLApp’ smartphone application.

“Furthermore, within the second phase, employers should electronically sign a job offer, send it to the worker regardless of their location — whether electronically to the worker himself or through an employment agency. If he accepts the terms and conditions, he then signs it (those who fall in the first, second and third occupational levels) or [put a] fingerprint (for workers in lower work levels),” Bin Deemas said.

The offer letter will be in both Arabic and English in addition to a third language that the worker understands, which can be available on the ministry’s website ‘www.mol.gov.ae’ containing comprehensive details of terms, regulations and labour laws. Bin Deemas said that “each worker can review their work contract through the ministry’s website after registering on the site using the passport number, nationality and transaction number as each has its own code.

During the final stage (the work permit extraction), employers attach the signed offers by the worker for initial approval, where the ministry works on reviewing the application to make sure it meets all the requirements and then issues the permit, which allows the worker to come to the country.

“Employers face a 14-day deadline to complete signature procedures following the worker’s entry into the UAE, if the worker complains of any delays then the ministry will allow him to seek a new offer,” he said.

“The electronic system of the ministry will not allow new job offers for workers following the initial approval stages, and replacing work permits will be treated according to specific procedures…,” he said.

Under the new measures, Bin Deemas pointed out that “it’s not mandatory to include a medical report with job offers, especially as today we are electronically linked with the public administrations of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, which does not issue workers with a residence visa with medical report.”

Referring to the contracts renewal process, Bin Deemas said that the worker’s signature is also a prerequisite for the ministry, as it grants workers a free will whether to renew the contract after accepting highlighted privileges and requirements or simply chose to end the relationship and find a better offer or move back home, something that establishes a healthy working relationship ending misunderstanding between both parties.

Courtsey : Gulf News

UAE announces new measures to renew work permits, expired contracts

New measures will come in to effect from early next year

labour court

The UAE Ministry of Labour (MoL) has announced new measures to renew work permits, previously known as labour cards, as well as expired contracts, by early 2016.

Speaking about the new requirements, Humaid bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Under-Secretary for Labour Affairs, said that from the beginning of next year, new decrees will require the ‘clear signature’ of employees for contract renewal and the issuing of new work permits, which will put an end to the current work permit renewal procedures which simply follow a notification from employers.

He said: “Workers, under the new procedures, will enjoy better options of either accepting renewal of the contract according to marked privileges and stipulated requirements in the new contract, or amend these privileges and conditions upon agreement by both parties, which actively contributes to promoting a strong working relationship. It will also enable employees to completely end the relationship, search for alternatives, or return back home.”

“Based on studies, the new decrees will end labour disputes caused by unjust labour contract submissions made by employers without referring to the labourers themselves, and getting final approval before issuing a new work permit,” he said.

Saqr bin Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour, said that the three decrees come within the framework of developing legislation to regulate the labour market, confirming that the MoL is moving to a new phase based on establishing and promoting a balanced and productive business relationship between both sides, based on transparency.

The MoL is currently preparing to implement the new decisions on schedule as an effort to ease procedures between employers and workers, particularly in relation to work offers that employees agree upon, whether outside or inside the country, and ensure the highlighting of wages and breaks, as well as other rights and duties.

Humaid Al Suwaidi went on to say that the ministry had conducted a study examining the hiring processes in private enterprises, and took into account, through its new decrees, the active measures taken to issue a contract in the preferred language of labourers prior to their signature. This he said, will help “overcome any difficulties that both ends may encounter through several employment channels, including employment agencies or by dispatching company representatives to the targeted country or even through employment websites.”

The new decrees are interrelated and frame the relationship between both sides, starting by enabling the worker to review an offer before travelling abroad then signing the new unified contract with the employer upon entry, from which point a contractual relationship is recorded into the ministry’s database highlighting all rights and obligations as per the contract.

If the worker is in the UAE, the worker must duly sign the employment offer, as stipulated by the decree, before the employer applies for tentative approval to employ the worker.

courtesy : Emirates 247

Residency visas cancelled after six months abroad

A six-month stay outside the country does not automatically cancel residency visas in some select situations, says the Ministry of Interior.

Although a residency visa is automatically nullified if its holder stays outside the UAE for six months, some travel excursions longer than six months are exempt such as expatriates going abroad for medical treatment, foreign wives of UAE citizens staying abroad and domestic helpers who are accompanying Emiratis studying abroad or seeking medical attention, a Ministry of Interior official said.

“In most cases, if a residency visa holder stays abroad for more than six months, he or she will have to issue a new entry permit as that visa will be invalidated,” Brigadier Dr Rashid Sultan Al Khader, Deputy Chairperson of the Legal Council at the Ministry, told Gulf News.

“However, the rule doesn’t apply in some cases and the exempted categories will have a valid visa up to their expiry date,” he said. “As per Article 61, exempted individuals include foreign wives of UAE nationals, domestic workers accompanying local students who are studying or undergoing medical treatment abroad, and expatriates seeking medical treatment outside the country along with those in their company.”

However, Dr Khader said individuals must have a valid residency visa as well as a medical report attested by the Ministry of Health.

Dr Khader said other categories exempted from the six-month rule are employees and domestic helpers accompanying the employees of diplomatic and consular missions in the UAE.

“Those who are employed in the UAE public sector and are overseas for work or sent abroad on training courses are also exempted, along with their families, from the six-month rule,” Dr Khader said.

However, expatriates going abroad, male and female, for studies are not spared from the six-month rule. Before the recent amendments, there was a relaxed approach for female students returning from their studies. Some residents are now dismayed that they have to go through the entire process of issuing an entry permit for female family members studying abroad.

Courtesy : Gulf News

Emirates ID cards to replace labour cards from next year

Emirates ID will also replace driving licence, health insurance cards in UAE

As Emirates ID registration of all foreign workers in the country has been completed, work permits, better known as labour cards, will be scrapped and replaced by the Emirates ID in the first quarter of next year, said a senior Ministry of Labour official yesterday.

“The move is part of plans to fast-track four million transactions — one million applications for new work permits, another million for renewal of these permits, a third million applications for new job contract and a million for renewing job contract every year — so that any transaction will take maximum 48 hours to complete instead of a minimum of 15 days at present,” said Humaid Bin Deemas Al Suwaidi, Assistant Undersecretary for Labour Affairs, told a news conference.

Al Suwaidi added plans for re-engineering of transactions, which will have no impact on fees, would ease the lives of more than four million workers in 250,000 private companies across the country, allowing workers and employers to obtain work permits and job contracts online and saving time and effort.

“The move will mean that an employer will submit only a job contract signed by both the worker and the employer to obtain a work permit online, in keeping with plans to make the UAE one of the world’s top five governments by 2021,” Al Suwaidi said.

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