I am a woman living in Dubai on my husband’s sponsorship. I have been working in a private school for the past two years. I already renewed my second contract three months ago. I have a labour card and medical insurance card from the school. In case I decide to leave due to personal reasons, do I have to give the school one month’s notice? Will the school be able to put a ban on me if I join another company? Do I have to pay the school one month’s salary and the cost of medical insurance and labour card if I need to leave at short notice? In my offer letter, it is mentioned that in case I resign, I cannot work with any other employer — whether it is a school or a company — for six months. Is this condition legal as per the labour law?
If the questioner’s contract is for unlimited period and she wants to quit work, she should notify the company in writing that she desires to quit upon the expiry of the notice period, which is one month as per the Labour Law or the period stated in the employment contract. Therefore, the questioner may not leave work immediately so as not to be banned from work. Upon the expiry of the notice period, the questioner may transfer to a new company without the need to obtain a No Objection Certificate from the sponsor. As per the Ministry of Labour (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation), NOC is no more required from the employer. Also, as per the Labour Law, the questioner is not obliged to pay the cost of the labour card or medical insurance card. If the questioner’s contract is for a limited period, the questioner may not leave work prior to the expiry of the contract period. Otherwise, the questioner shall be subject to a one-year ban if the employer requests so to the Ministry of Labour. In addition, she may have to pay compensation to the employer if the latter proves that he is affected by the termination of the contract. Finally, the article mentioned in the questioner’s offer letter, which states that the questioner cannot work with any employer — whether it’s a competitor or not a competitor — is invalid and considered illegal, and against the UAE Labour Law.
Compensation for dismissal
I had worked in a company for more than three years before the latter terminated my service without any reason. I approached the Ministry of Labour to claim my labour dues. The ministry told the employer that my termination is deemed arbitrary dismissal and asked him to pay me three months’ salary in compensation for the arbitrary dismissal in addition to my labour dues. The employer refused to comply with the ministry’s order stating that it is not arbitrary dismissal and requested the ministry to refer the case to the competent court. If the court finds that I was dismissed arbitrarily, will the court order the employer to compensate me with an amount equivalent to three months’ salary? Will such calculation be on the basis of the basic or gross salary? Will such calculation be based on the salary mentioned in the employment contract or the salary I was receiving when I was sacked, which is much bigger than the one mentioned in the employment contract? Will the commission, which was being given by the company, included while calculating the end-of-service gratuity? In my company, the commission was included in the end-of-service benefits in the case of some employees. Please clarify these points in detail. If I file a counter case in the labour court to claim my rights, do I need to pay the court fee?
If the court finds that the questioner was dismissed arbitrarily by the company, the court would assess the appropriate compensation, which is normally from one month’s to three months’ salary according to the period that the worker has completed in service. Such compensation shall be calculated based on the last total salary received by the questioner regardless of the salary mentioned in the employment contract, as the present salary can be proved through the bank transfer (wage protection system or WPS) statement or any other proof. The commission can be calculated as a part of the salary while calculating the employee’s end-of-service benefits under the following conditions as observed by the Dubai Cassation Court:
If the commission is clearly mentioned in the labour contract or the offer letter states ‘salary plus commission’.
If the commission is not mentioned in the labour contract or offer letter but the employee used to get the commission regularly and the same had been deposited along with the salary in the employee’s WPS account, the commission is a part of the salary and can be calculated in the end-of-service gratuity.
Finally, as per the Dubai labour courts, if the employee’s labour claim is more than Dh100,000, the court fee is 5 per cent with a maximum of Dh20,000, which has to be paid by the employee.
— Questions are answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.