Two-month notice period enforceable if stated in UAE worker's employment contract

I am a waiter in a five-star hotel in Dubai. I have been working there for 10 months. Now I have been offered a new job and want to leave the hotel that I’m working for, but according to the contract I have a two-month notice period. I want to ask if I can leave the hotel without notice as I am ready to pay them to do this. And what do I have to pay? Two months’ salary plus hiring fee and other fees? Or can they reject my resignation notice and force me to finish the two months of notice? And can they ban me from working elsewhere? DV, Sharjah

DV has not confirmed the nature of his contract, so it will be assumed that it is unlimited. While UAE Labour Law refers to a minimum notice period of one month, if the contract of employment states that the notice period is two months and this is signed by both the employee and the employer, then that is enforceable and DV can be made to work the full notice period as agreed. An employer can agree to allow someone to leave employment sooner, although they are not obliged to, but they cannot enforce a penalty for someone on an unlimited contract. Employers are also not permitted to reclaim the cost of hiring an employee when they leave, nor can they refuse to accept a letter of resignation. The rules regarding employment bans changed in January of this year. Provided someone has completed six months of service and completed the agreed notice period, they will not receive a ban and will be free to take up another position.

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

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only.

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