FAQ – Employment Contracts

1. Is the worker entitled to obtain an employment contract?

 Yes … the worker is entitled to obtain the employment contract concluded between the two parties and issued and attested by the ministry of labor signed by the two parties … as the employment contract shall be in writing and each of the worker and employer shall have a copy respectively.. And the approved language in the state is the Arabic language. And in case the worker does not receive the employment contract, he shall resort to the ministry of labour.

2. If the employment contract has not been issued from the ministry, can I prove my service
with employer or not?

 Evidence shall be conducted by the legal evidence means … for example: internal contract concluded between the two parties, appointment letter, payment statement or book of  attendance and going out of the work ……….. etc. , if the worker has one of them.

3. What is the necessary information that shall be available in the employment contract? Article (36):

 The employment contract shall contain the following:
– Date of signing the contract.
– Date of starting the work
– Type of the contract, either it is (a limited or unlimited contract)
– Place of signing the contract
– Period of the contract: if it is a limited contract  …  there shall be a date of the  commencement and end of the contract in the unlimited contract only the commencement  shall be mentioned therein – Amount of the payment: the basic salary, allowances and bonuses shall be specified
– Occupation
Note : if there are any other conditions agreed upon between the parties of the contract to  be added at the date of singing the contract provided that they are not in contradiction with  the labor law

 4. How long the period of probation that shall be approved in the contract of
employment? Article (37):

The worker shall be appointed under a probation period, which shall not be more than six  months … this period shall not be extended for another one.

5. Is it permitted to exclude the probation period?

 Yes it is … as the probation period is optional.

 6. Is it permitted to reduce the probation period?

 Yes it is … but the probation period shall not exceed (6) months.

 7. Is the employer entitled to dismiss the worker during probation period?

 Yes he is ….  as this period is given to the employer to evaluate the worker’s performance  …. therefore , he is entitled to dismiss the worker during this period without a notice and  without end of service benefit.

 8. If the worker has passed the probation period, does this period is calculated  within service period?

 This period shall be calculated when the worker successfully passed it and continued the  service.  Important: (is the period of visit calculated within period of service?)  Legally, it is.

 9. What are the types of employment contracts?

 *Limited Contract
* Unlimited Contract

  10. What is the limited contract? Article (38):

 It is the contract the period of which has been specified, and it shall not exceed (4) years … such contract may be extended by agreement of the two parties for less period once or several times. It is usually the limited employment contract to be for a period of (3) years in order to  conform with the labor card and the period of residence.
* Example: to be printed in the contract: (the limited contract) started from 10/ 10/ 2005 to
9/ 10/ 2008 … i.e. it has a date of commencement and date of expiry.

 11. Is the period after renewal of the contract considered as an extension to the  original one, or each contract is calculated separately?

 The said period is considered as an extension to the original one and calculated within the  total period of the worker.  * Example: a limited contract, the contract which began in 4/ 4/ 2004 and expired at 3/ 4/ 2007..  and it was renewed for another (3) years  so that the concluded contract is expires at  3/ 4/ 2010.
At this example, the period of service shall be calculated since the beginning of his work  with the employer in 4/ 4/ 2004 up to the last day of work.
· Second: The Unlimited Contract:

 12. What is the unlimited contract? Article (39):

 The unlimited contract is concluded in the following case:
– If it is not written … namely (there is no contract issued between the two parties)  –   If it is  concluded for unlimited period  example:  the unlimited contract of employment  starts at the date of (2/5/ 2007) to (..) i.e there is no expiry date.
– If the concluded contract is a written contract with a limited period  …. And they  continued in execution of the contract after its expiry or end of its period without a written  agreement … the contract is deemed limited and it was renewed for one year …and after  end of the renewed period the contract shall be considered unlimited contract.
As it is obvious, the clause (b) in all employment contracts issued from the ministry of labor  provides for the following:
” The limited contract shall be expired at the expiration of its period … if the two parties  continued in its execution, it shall be considered renewed for one year as from date of expiry of  the contract and with the same conditions therein” .  – If the contract is concluded for performance of a certain work with no limited period and  it is, according to the nature of the work, renewable, and the contract continued between  them after end of the work agreed upon between them.
* Example: an engineer entered into a contract with an employer for completion of a
certain project … the period of completion of the project has not been specified ….. after  the end of the project , the engineer continued in the work with the employer … ( here,  the  contract is  considered unlimited  because the contract did not specify a certain limited period for its  expiry ).

 13- What about the limited contract the period of which was expired and the contract was  not renewed, but the worker continued in the work? The Article  (40)

 The original contract is deemed a limited contract … and renewed explicitly for one year  under the same conditions provided therein.  This is What is provided in the clause (b) in all employment contracts issued from the ministry  of labor, which provides for the following:
” The limited contract shall be expired at the expiration of its period … if the two  parties  continued in its execution, it shall be considered renewed for one year as from date of expiry of  the contract and with the same conditions therein” .

 14- What about the worker who works with a sub- contractor or in a (sub- contract)? Article (41):

 If the employer agreed with another employer (contractor of works) by a contract  concluded between them called (sub- contract) and the first party’s workers shifted to the  second party (the second employer) the second employer shall be responsible for the rights  of those workers And according to the international work agreements:The main employer and  sub- employer shall be both liable for the rights of the workers jointly and severally.  And in the practical fact, the damaged party shall submit a complaint  against the original  employer.

 15- is there any difference between the contract of those working in education and other  contracts?

 Yes there is … as the contracts of education have a special nature and special conditions …  these contracts are issued under coordination between the ministry of labor and ministry of  education .. and the person who has enquiry shall first resort to the ministry of education …  then , to the ministry of labor , in case there is a dispute .

 16- How the teacher’s leave is calculated?

 Contracts of education have special conditions and special rules because they are issued  from the ministry of labor and ministry of education; therefore, the person who has enquiry  shall first resort to the ministry of education then, to the ministry of labor, in case there is a  dispute.
b) Professional training contract: starts with the article (42)

 17- What is the professional training contract? and What are its conditions?

 * Professional training contract:
“A contract under which the owner of establishment shall commit to prepare a complete  professional training in compliance with the principles of the profession, to another person  who completed (12) years of age at least … and this person,  in his turn, shall commit to  work during the period of training for the account of the employer as per the conditions  and time agreed on ” .
Here, the article was amended and the apprenticed person shall be of (15) years old at least as  a commitment to the agreement no.:  (82/ 1999) and agreement of child’s rights of 1989, which were ratified by the state.
*  Conditions of professional training contract:
– it shall be in writing  otherwise,  it is invalid.
– The employer or the party conducts the training shall have sufficient qualifications and  experiences in the trade or profession required to train the worker on.  – The establishment itself shall have the same technical conditions and capabilities
required to train the occupation of the profession.

 18- Shall the apprenticed entitled to conclude the training contract by himself? Article (43):

 The mature apprenticed worker who reached the legal age of (18) may conclude the  contracting by himself … and the person who does not reached the age of (18) shall not  contract with the employer for apprenticing, rather, he shall be represented by his natural  parent, legitimate guardian, or whoever is responsible of him.

 19- What is the content of the professional training contract (What does it contain? ) : Article ( 45):

 It shall contain the following:
– Details about identity of the contracting parties, or whoever represents them.
– The manner of performing training
– Period of training
– Stages of training
– The profession, subject of training.

 20- What are the employer’s obligations toward the apprenticed person? Article (46):

 The employer shall:
– Give the apprenticed person during training sufficient time for theoretical training.
– He shall train the worker on principles of the profession and the technique for which he has been employed throughout the period specified in the contract.
– He shall give him a certificate at the end of each stage of the training.
– He shall give him a final certificate at the end of period of training.

 21- Shall the apprenticed person obliged to work with the same employer at the end of  training period? Article (47):

 – The worker may undertake in the training contract that he shall work after the  end of training with the employer or owner of the establishment.
– And the employer may undertake in the training contract to employ the work after end of  the training contract.

 22- How the fees are specified in the professional training contract? Article (48):

 It shall be specified in the training contract, the fees due for each stage of training.. and the  fees of the final stage shall not be less than the minimum level established for similar work  …. Otherwise, they shall be specified on piece or production basis
* Example:
The minimum fees for the work or occupation of (carpentry) in general may be in the sum  of Dhs.  (2000), so the fees for the professional training contract shall not be less than this  amount as it is provided for in the article above.

 23- Shall the worker have special requirements? Article (49):

 There shall be some special requirements before training the worker who is less than (18)
years old:
* A medical examinations about his health conditions and his ability to perform works of  the profession in which he wants to train in.
* A medical report for the profession which require certain body and health  conditions that shall be available in the worker, either they are psychological or  physical conditions.

 24- Who is the party who organizes training of professions and occupations which require  training? Article (50) :

 Minister of labor is the party who organize the same by a resolution from him in the  professions and occupations which require training the worker in them. And specifies  period of training in these professions … practical and theoretical programs … conditions  of  examination..  Certificate given at the end of training period  … and the minister’s  resolution is issued after survey of opinions of the concerned public establishments.

 25- Who has the power of issuing resolution for establishing professional training centers, number and percentage of apprenticed workers therein? Article (51) & (52):

 Minister of labor who decides to establishing these centers either separate centers or in  cooperation with professional and charity bodies, local, foreign or international bodies.. and he who specifies professions of  which training is performed therein … and conditions of admittance  at the center , programs of theoretical and practical study , system of  examinations and professional certificates ……………………. etc.
And he who obliges the establishments and companies and owners  of industries to accept  certain number or percentage from apprenticed locals under the conditions …. and he also  orders these establishment to accept , for purpose of training and completion  of practical  experience in them , a certain number or percentage from students of the professional and  industrial centers and institutes , and that shall be as per the conditions to be agreed on.

26-What is a Labour Contract? Is it the same as a Contract of Employment?

In essence, it is, as both documents contain information about your employment with a particular employer. However, in the context of jobs in Dubai, these are two separate documents. The official Federal Labour Contract is actually a cookie-cutter template document written in both Arabic and English. It contains the very basic information pertaining to your employment as required by law. This document must be produced in three copies, hard copies (printouts) for both the employer’s and the employee’s file; and an electronic (usually scanned) copy for the Department of Labour. Unless submitted to the Department of Labour, such contract has no legal effect and no employment visa will be released in the name of the employee.

27-My employer asked me to sign a document titled “Contract of Employment”. Is this the document that binds me to an employee-employer relationship with a Dubai employer?

This question merits more than a straightforward yes or no response. If what you are holding is a detailed contract containing specific conditions of your employment with your particular employer, your reciprocal rights and obligations, specifically pertaining to your job description and remuneration, company policies and others, and the said document is written only in English, such document is not binding. This means you or your employer may not use such document before the Department of Labour as basis for any particular action pertaining to your employment.

Note: However, for any employment-related document to be legally enforceable, such document must be translated to Arabic and included in your Federal Labour Contract as an attachment under the Other Conditions section. All other documents and communications between you and your employer are binding only insofar as either or both parties agree to be bound, i.e. a handshake deal or a gentleman’s agreement, without any legal effect.

28-Why is the Labour Contract required to be written in both English and Arabic?

UAE Federal Laws specifically name Arabic as the sole official language to be used in every mode of communication between an employer and their employees. But because the majority of UAE’s work force, especially in Dubai, is expatriate, English, being the accepted language of business internationally, is used alongside Arabic for the sake of expatriate employees who do not speak or understand the Arabic language. Note however, that if there is an error or discrepancy in the text, weather intentional or not, the Arabic text prevails.

Employees, therefore, must exercise due diligence and be certain that they understand the provisions of their contracts before affixing their signatures to the document. It’s best to have a friend or colleague who understands both English and Arabic to review your contract.

29-What are offer letters? Are employers required to give all employees an offer letter?

An offer letter is a formal offer of employment to a prospective employee. This document contains the details of employment such as job description, compensation and benefits like basic salary and allowances, leave dues, and other perks. It is customary for an employer to make a formal offer of employment to a candidate who has successfully made it through their recruitment and hiring process. Customary does not mean mandatory. There is no legal requirement for employers to issue Offer Letters. Some employers do not make formal Offer Letters.

30-What is the difference between limited and unlimited contracts?

Your official Labour Contract may either be limited or unlimited.

An unlimited or indefinite contract is a renewable contract. The term specified as period of employment herein usually corresponds to the validity of your residency visa. Such contract can then be renewed upon expiration under the same conditions, i.e., without modifications. After the probationary period, either party may terminate the contract at any time by giving at least a 30-day notice.

A limited contract specifies a definite term or period of employment. Renewal of the contract upon expiration is not guaranteed as an option. Termination of the contract prior to expiration normally warrants the payment of damages to the party suffering the breach. Maximum penalties set by law for violation of the period clause is payment of damages to the aggrieved party of an amount equal to 1.5 times of the employee’s monthly wages.

31-What is the probationary period?

This is a period of time, usually between three to six months, where your (the employee’s) performance on the job is subject to scrutiny by the employer. Labour Laws allow the employer this period to assess whether you are indeed qualified to perform the job they hired you for. At any time during the probationary period, your employment may be terminated at will by the employer without further notice or compensation other than wages earned. After the probationary period, your employment with your employer is secured by applicable federal laws and may only be terminated upon expiration of the period of employment specified in the labour contract or for reasons specified by law.

32-What must I know about probationary periods?

Probationary periods are required by law, i.e., it is mandatory and shall be for a period of not less than three months but no more than six months. Here are some things you ought to know about probationary periods:

  • You can not be placed under probation more than once by the same employer
  • Your employer can terminate your services at any time during the probationary period without notice or severance pay.
  • The probationary period is included in calculating your service years for purposes of gratuity and other pay calculations
  • You are not legally entitled to any paid sick leaves during the probationary period.
  • Entry airfare can be reimbursed from your employer if you were recruited from a foreign country.
  • You are likely to incur a labour ban if you terminate your employment during this period.

33-Under what conditions can the employer terminate my employment prior to the expiration of my labour contract?

Article 120 of the Federal Labour Law specifies these conditions. An employer may terminate your employment if:

  1. You falsified any information pertaining to your application;
  2. You committed mistake(s) that results to grave financial loss to your employer’s business. In this case, the employer must notify the Department of Labour within 48 hours from learning of the mistake
  3. You violated work-related safety instructions. The safety instructions in question must have been in writing and displayed in an easily visible place and that if illiterate, you must have been given the instructions orally;
  4. You repeatedly failed to meet performance standards set forth in your labour contract. There must have been interrogation and a written warning given you
  5. You disclosed trade secrets to parties you shouldn’t have. Some employers whose businesses require utmost confidentiality would actually include a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) as an attachment to your labour contract
  6. You have been conclusively convicted in court of any offence pertaining to honesty, honour or public morals;
  7. You report to work obviously intoxicated or drugged. This is presumably the kind of drugs considered illegal in most societies, e.g. cocaine. The Police and the Labour Department must have been duly notified in this case;
  8. You committed assault to physical harm to any person you work with during work hours. In this case, the Police and the Department of Labour must have been notified of the incident;
  9. You were absent from work for 20 uninterrupted days or seven (7) consecutive days in a single year for no valid reason.

In cases of criminal offences (items 7 & 8), a formal complaint must have been filed against you and a conviction by a court of law is necessary to substantiate the reason for termination.

In addition, Article 88 bars an employee from working for any other employer during his/her annual holiday or sick leave. Otherwise, their employment with the employer who sponsored their visas could be terminated and their pay for the leave withheld.

34-Can I have my contract terminated before it expires?

Yes, you may, under either of these situations:

  • Your employer or any of their legal representatives have assaulted you or;
  • Your employer has refused to release your wages per your labour contract.

In either case, you must present substantial evidence to the Department of Labour to have your labour contract cancelled. Each case is judged based on merit.

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