December 15, 2020
I explain the rule around employment relationships in my recent column in Gulf News, after a reader wrote in with a concern about whether they would be subject to a travel ban. The reader had recently travelled to Dubai to commence employment but when the person arrived, the employer offered unfair employment conditions of Dh650 a month on a three-year limited contract. The reader refused to sign the contract and feared a travel ban may be issued by the potential employer. However, as I explain, the would-be employer can do no such thing as no employment relationship existed in lieu of the contract.
October 14, 2020
A distressed Dubai employee sought my legal advice through a Gulf News column, detailing how she had received unwanted advances by her male boss that she rejected, that included asking for her address and for a personal relationship. This led to unpleasant treatment and heightened workload and went as far as potential stalking, the woman noticing the boss's relatives, also employees, tracing her movements. I explain that while the boss is required to keep a file on each staff member, including their personal address, that comes with limitations and "excessive annoyance" of a person is a crime that can result in a Dh10,000 fine or one year in prison.
October 01, 2020
A man who patiently waited to join his job for six months was bitterly disappointed when the company, who had asked him to wait to join due to COVID-19, terminated his contract before he was ever paid. The man was uncertain of his legal rights but as I explain in a Gulf News article the man may have still been on probation in accordance with his contract, and therefore the company may have been legally able to cancel the contract - depending on what else was written in there and as long as the period had not exceeded six months.
September 14, 2020
Every worker in the UAE is entitled to gratuity pay at the end of their contract, regardless of whether they quit or were fired - except if you were fired for performance or conduct issues under Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law. I explain how calculations are made in this article in Gulf News, which is a simple formula depending on your basic salary and how many years of service you completed. However, you cannot be paid any more than two years' of basic salary and any money owed to your company will be deducted from this gratuity.
August 31, 2020
One Dubai resident shares a tale of woe that starts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, when he had to fly home as his mother was on her deathbed. Whilst in his native India, flight restrictions kicked in and the man was unable to return for four months ‐ only to find out he'd lost his job on his first day reporting back. His company was sold and, to add to the woes, his residence visa expired. I explained to the Gulf News reader in an article that he may be eligible for three months' salary as compensation for arbitrary termination and can also file a case with the Labour court.
August 28, 2020
I answer one Gulf News reader's legal inquiry about what can be done with overstaying fines that were incurred because he resigned during the grace period for visa renewal and his company therefore didn't renew. I explain that while ordinarily it would be an individual's responsibility to pay a fine if they do not renew their visa or leave the UAE within 30 days of the expiry of the last one, there are extenuating circumstances in the present case that would mean there could be an exemption to the overstaying fines. Additionally, I explain the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs has extended the grace period during the Covid-19 pandemic.
June 25, 2020
Many people have been placed on temporary salary cuts during COVID-19, including one Gulf News reader who wrote in asking whether gratuity will be calculated on their original salary or on the revised temporary salary cuts in the event of redundancy during this time. Gulf News consulted with me and I explained in this article that this is dependent on what was established in the accompanying appendix to the salary cut - the legal document that outlines the temporary salary cut arrangements. However, as I explain, these appendices were prepared by the Ministry of Labour and, unless any amendments were made, the gratuity should be calculated based on the employee's original salary.
April 30, 2020
As teachers around the UAE report being asked to accept changes to their contracts, including reduced working hours and unpaid leave, I explain the legal context of a new Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritsation statute that gives private businesses grounds to make adjustments to working practices, as quoted in The National newspaper. I explain that any changes require consent, and employees are within their rights to refuse requested changes to their contracts. Termination that follows on from such refusal would be deemed arbitrary and could lead to claims for damages, as termination must be linked to an employee's performance.
April 06, 2020
I explain the legal situation according to temporary guidelines issued by the UAE's Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization to ensure remote-working is conducted in the best interests of the employee and the employer during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes ensuring employees have the necessary tools to perform their work using online platforms as well as adequate management and oversight of working hours and productivity. In return, employees have an obligation to be available via communications channels and must report to their place of work when requested. Employees must perform duties within a certain timeframe, maintain confidentiality of information and keep devices provided by the employer in good working condition.