New UAE labour law for terminating employees, new contracts

Law to be enforced in 2016; Aims to regulate relations between employers and workers.

The UAE intends to enforce a new labour law at the start of 2016 to better regulate the relationship between employers and workers and curb violations to ensure both parties will get their rights, the press reported on Tuesday.

The new law includes three main rules governing labour contracts for workers from abroad, terminating contracts between the employers and workers and the issuance of a new work permit to a resident worker.

“These rules will take the labour market to a new stage based on a strong and balanced relationship between all parties and on agreement and transparency in contracting to guarantee the rights of all parties,” Labour Minister Saqr Gobash said.

The first rule in the law, published by the Dubai-based Arabic language daily ‘Emarat Al Youm’, requires the employer to issue a “clear and detailed” contract for the foreign workers to be brought from abroad, including all duties and rights for the two parties, job terms and other requirements in a language understood by the worker.

The contract must be signed by the worker before it is submitted to the labour ministry for the issuance of a work permit, which must not be altered at any stage.

“The same measures apply to workers who reside in the UAE. In this case, the employer must also get the worker’s signature,” it said.

Contract termination

The second rule, which governs contract termination, includes an agreement by the employer and the worker to end their two-year contract.

Another case includes a decision by the employer to terminate the contract before it expires.
In this case, the employer must give at least one month notice to the worker and pay the worker all dues during that period.

“The notice period must also not exceed three months and must be agreed by both parties,” it said.

The new rule also governs cases in which the employer or the worker terminates the contract without abiding by the legal procedures.

Another case involves a decision by the employer to terminate the worker’s services for committing offences including assaulting or insulting the employer.

Regarding unspecified contracts, the employer seeking to terminate a worker’s contract must also give a notice of not less than one month and not exceeding three months.

“In all contract termination cases, any party has the right to go to court to seek compensation and any other rights,” it said.

Under the new rule, the work contract is considered null if the employer is found to have violated the law including failure to pay the worker for two months.

In case a worker could not start his job because of the closure of the company, the labour ministry will send inspectors to check the company’s status before issuing a decision within two months.

As for cases considered by the labour court at the ministry, it will issue a final decision forcing the employer to pay the worker two months’ salary or to compensate him for service termination or depriving workers from end of service benefits.

New job contracts

The new rules also cover new job contracts to workers whose contracts have expired or terminated by an agreement between the employer and the worker provided the worker has completed at last six months with his employer.

According to ‘Emarat Al Youm’, the new law specified three cases involving termination of work contracts.

They include agreement by both parties provided the worker has spent at least six months with the employer, termination of the contract by either party for some reason, and termination of the contract by the employer without reason.

The new law allows the issuance of a new work permit in cases where the employer is found to have violated his commitments, including failure to pay workers for two months, a complaint by the worker that he is not able to start his job because of the company’s closure, and a labour dispute at the ministry’s court.

Ministerial decisions 764, 765 and 766 aim to improve labour relations based on sponsorship.

Source :

You can quit job without notice if employer fails to meet obligations

The employee must immediately report non-payment of salary to the Ministry of Labour and file a complaint against the employer.

My friend is working as an accountant since one year at an entity based in the UAE. However, she has not received her salary for two months, owing to the fact that the employer has taken in its possession ATM Cards of all its employees. The employer deposits salary in the accounts of each employee in accordance with the Wage Protection Scheme regulations, but subsequently, the employer withdraws the money using the employees’ ATM cards.

Under these circumstances, can she shift to a job without getting a labour ban?

It is presumed that your friend’s employment is subject to provisions of the Federal Law No 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relations (the “Labour Law”).

Pursuant to the first part of your question, it may be noted that your friend shall be within her rights to terminate her current employment, as her employer has failed to fulfil its obligations towards her as its employee, as your friend has not received her salary for the last two months. However, your friend must immediately report non-payment of salary to the Ministry of Labour and file a complaint against her employer.

Therefore, if your friend should decide to terminate her employment, she may not face the imposition of an employment ban, as the reason for termination of employment contract may be attributable to the employer. This is in accordance with the provisions of Article 121, which states: “A worker may leave his work without notice in either of the following case:

(a) If the employer fail to comply with his obligation towards him, as provided for in the contract or in this Law;

(b) If he is assaulted by the employer or the employer’s legal representative.”

Pursuant to the last part of your question, it may be noted that the acts perpetuated by your friend’s employer may actually amount to unauthorised use of ATM cards, which is a punishable offence in the UAE. Owing to this, your friend along with other employees of the same entity may also consider to approach the police and file a complaint against her employer. However, in any case, it is advisable for your friend to simultaneously file a complaint against her employer at the Ministry of Labour as well.



Thousands expected at centres as UAE visa amnesty begins

Thousands of illegal immigrants are expected to flock to centres across the country as the 60-day visa amnesty begins on Tuesday.

Violators of the country’s residency law can visit a centre in each Emirate to start the departure process — which will see them leave the country with no ban or overstaying fines to pay.

General Directorate of Residency and Foreigner Affairs (GDRFA) officials confirmed illegal residents will be granted exit permits to leave the country — with all fines waived — upon visiting one of the 10 centres across the country.

Those applying for amnesty will have fingerprints and iris scans taken to ensure there are no pending criminal cases against them.

“The amnesty will start today and will last for 60 days, giving time for all illegal residents and visitors to leave the country without penalties,” officials said.

Last month Gulf News reported how Major General Nasser Awadi Al Menhali, assistant undersecretary for Naturalisation, Residency and Ports Affairs, announced the amnesty, detailing how illegal residents will be allowed to leave the UAE without penalty.

As many as 342,000 illegal immigrants took advantage of the last amnesty declared in 2007.

Around 300,000 illegal immigrants left the country under the second amnesty which ran between January and April, 2002.

In 1996, about 200,000 illegal residents left the country under a six-month amnesty.

Residency law violators should take their passport and an air ticket to their home country to any of the 10 amnesty centres across the emirates.

Officials have emphasised there is no need to approach the residency department where the original residency or visit visa was issued.

Those without passports — if they have been lost or stolen — will receive assistance from the residency department to obtain out-passes from their consulates or embassies.

Anyone with outstanding absconding cases against them, where their passport is held at a residency department, will be given back their passport in order to leave the country.

In cases where violators cannot afford an air ticket, they will receive support either in the form of liquidating their bank guarantee deposited at the Ministry of Labour, or where no guarantee exists, they will be helped by the authority on humanitarian grounds.

An official added: “For those violators who wish to stay in the UAE but who have allowed their residency to expire, overstaying fines must be paid in order to legalise residency status.”

In Dubai, those wishing to take advantage of the amnesty grace period can approach the Directorate to follow up on violations and foreigner affairs in Al Aweer from 8am until 8pm, except during holidays.

Colonel Mohammad Alwan, director of the GDRFA in Ajman, told Gulf News illegal residents in Ajman can approach the centre in Al Jurf area — close to the Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs where a special tent has been set up.

Brigadier Dr Abdullah Sahoo, director of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Sharjah, said: “In order for illegal immigrants to have their exit permits issued, they can approach the Sharjah residency department headquarters in Al Jawazat Area.

“They need to bring an air ticket, passport or out-passes from their consulates.”

People wishing to take advantage of the amnesty can call the toll free number, 800 5111, for enquiries and information on the required documents and how to apply.

Changing jobs

I am working in an automation-based company in Dubai. I had joined on August 16, 2009 with designation of an application engineer. My visa is not an engineer visa and it is a general technician visa as my company wanted my attested degree at that time to give me an engineer visa, which I didn’t have at that time. 

My question is in case I want to leave my present company and join another company, and in case my present employer denies me a no objection certificate, what options do I have?

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