Employment in UAE – Know Your Rights

By | February 20, 2020

News reports about foreigners living in UAE, and their problems with their employer or the government of UAE are common. They often occur when a tourist or a resident living in UAE doesn’t know about the law of UAE.

The first thing that I want to start with is that it cannot always be the employee’s fault when he gets terminated. So, whenever you are being terminated or your visa is not being extended, it is advisable to go to the labour law administration of your state and discuss your situation before leaving the country. In most cases, the company has no right to terminate you or stop renewing your visa. Many analysts described UAE’s Labour Law as very complicated, but with the time and new amendments in the law, UAE’s Labour law now favours the employee more than the employer, but the lack of education and unawareness with the law often creates problems for employees.

Unfortunately, most of the expats in UAE don’t know their rights, and this is a huge problem. To make matters worse, the government is not doing much to spread awareness, and because of this, we observe that justice often fails to be served. In many cases, even though the law sides with the employee, he doesn’t understand his rights under UAE law, so the employer is able to make him suffer, even when he has done nothing wrong.

We have examples of many such cases. Among them, there is a story that was shared with us by a 28 year old engineer, Adil (Not real name) who was working in Dubai in the capacity of Geophysical Engineer. (We are not sharing the name of employer and employee because of the secrecy and legal reasons for both parties). Engineer Adil who had been performing all his official responsibilities with all sincerity, had to face severe consequences leading to termination, just because he wasn’t very friendly with his manager outside the office, and his manager never approved of his personal life. So, the confused manager corrupting the professional career of Engineer Adil, mixed his professional life with personal matters, and accused him of many offences that he never committed. In the end, Engineer Adil complained to higher management about his manager’s accusations, and they called a meeting with managerial staff questioning Engineer Adil along with his manager. Engineer Adil responded to all questions and proved his innocence. But yet, after the meeting concluded, he was given an official document to sign, agreeing that if he makes any mistake in future, he would be terminated. Adil, who believed he had already established his innocence to them, said that he already proved himself innocent of any mistake in past. He told them they could not ask him to sign a document which held no legal grounds. At this, the employer took the matter personally, and refused to grant him the visa, neglecting all his hardwork and sacrifices for the company.

Now, in this case, one needs to understand that the personal life of an employee should not be a concern of the employer. Plus, no employer can ask their employee for favours outside of work, expecting their employee to oblige. They can not mix personal favours with official appraisals. It is a right of everyone, both employed and unemployed, to have whatever kind of life he wants to have after work. Your employer has no right to question you about your personal life, and if they are doing that, you can complain legally against them.

Most of the labour contracts bind employees to work a maximum of 8 hours, whereas a few jobs, such as a security guard’s contract, may have two extra working hours. Your daily working hours must be mentioned on your government contract paper, and you have the right to finish off your work after completing your daily working hours. It is not dependent on whether you finished your daily task or not; it is based entirely on your working hours. It is strictly prohibited for an employer/senior to call their employee/subordinates after official hours, and ask them to do something official at home or even discuss official matter with them after work.

Your salary should be given to you within every 30 days.

If you commit an unintentional mistake during your job, you can explain the problem to your seniors, and that you were only sincerely doing your job. Your employer cannot take any action against you as mistakes are part of the job.

If you have been given a warning letter from your employer after you have committed a severe blunder, then you will be given another warning letter if you broke another law, and on third notice your company can terminate your contract.

On termination, you will be given gratuity as per your contract. Your company has no right to freeze your salary, gratuity or any other remaining balance that you have against your company.

There are so many laws and acts regarding labour contracts which cannot be fully discussed in a single article. But, if you are facing any problem in your company, you can definitely call “Ministry of Labour Department” on their free contact number during working hours 0800-1600 every Sunday to Thursday. You can also visit any Tasheel Office, where you can meet an agent and explain your situation to them in person, and take their advice. You will also need to visit a Tasheel office to register a complaint against any wrong done against you by your employer. To register any of your complaints, or search a nearby Tasheel office, you may Click Here.

If you find this article informative, and have any suggestions to add or questions to ask, you can write us in the comment section.

Special thanks to Mrs. Jennifer Hayden-Yenor (USA) for the article.

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