Worker’s UAE Ministry of Labour contract says one thing, company contract another – which is valid?

I have an employment contract that I thought was with the Labour Department and says “limited”, but I signed another contract with our company that is marked as “unlimited”. I am confused as to which contract is valid. I have given one month’s notice to resign. Our company will give me a final settlement tomorrow. It includes annual leave, which I didn’t take, and the gratuity. Can you please give me advice as to how much our company should pay me as per the UAE Labour Law? JW, Dubai

The terms that will apply are the ones on the version of the employment contract that has been lodged with the Ministry of Labour. If you are on a limited/fixed contract you could have a penalty to pay for leaving early, so it is important that you know which one will apply. From checking, it appears that JW is now on an unlimited contract. The labour law states that the standard gratuity is 21 days for each year worked, but if someone resigns having worked for less than three years this is reduced by two-thirds, per Article 137 of Labour Law, so the entitlement reduces to seven days per year, or partial year on the basic salary only. As JW will have been with the company for 18 months at the time of leaving, they will be entitled to 10.5 days of basic salary as gratuity. Any days of annual leave that have accrued but not been taken should also be paid as part of the final settlement. The employer is not permitted to pass on any of their visa or processing costs and should pay all money due at the time of the last salary payment.

I left the UAE on March 5 this year to go to Pakistan. My company has now sent me an email stating that I have absconded without notice and they told me they have will take legal action against me. I would now like to go back to the UAE after being away for one month. Am I able to go back and what is the procedure? HZ, Pakistan


If an employee takes leave without permission from their employer and is away for an extended period, then the employer is totally within their rights to file an absconding report. This usually results in the individual being banned from returning to the UAE, either in connection with a job or just as a visitor, and is classed as an immigration ban. It should be possible to check with the relevant immigration department.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 years of experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice

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