- Legal Articles
- Ask Elhais
June 07, 2022|
Thirteen well-loved and respected staff at a Sharjah private school may not be able to rely on arguments of good performance to retain their jobs after a mass termination letter was delivered by school management. Parents are protesting the decision by the school, in which 12 administrative staff and one teacher were given five days’ notice – but as Al Rowaad Advocates managing partner Hassan Elhais explains in this The National article, the type of contract may mean the staff have no legal protection. Limited-term contracts allow employers to fire staff as a result of "market changes" - no matter how well they have performed. However, these contracts still necessitate a one-month warning period to take effect.
April 02, 2022|
Days can feel longer during the holy month of Ramadan, where rules around consumption are strict for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. For this reason, daily working hours are reduced by two to seven hours a day (including a one-hour meal break). However, many companies may require staff to continue working their regular hours. As legal consultant Dr Hassan El Hais of Al Rowaad Advocates advises in The National newspaper, junior staff are entitled to be paid 25 per cent extra on any hour worked over this amount; and for those who work between 9pm and 4am this compensation jumps to 50 per cent.
February 28, 2022|
Stabilising work relations is the thinking behind a number of new measures issued by a Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation decree that will penalize companies who fail to pay their staff on time. Al Rowad Advocates managing partner Dr. Hasan Elhais told Khaleej Times in an article on the new measures that this is an upgrade to penalties introduced in 2009, providing stronger legal options against late-paying firms. This includes regular notices to require payment from day 3 of late payment, to potential suspension of new work permits, fines and a notice to public prosecution for the worst offenders.
February 08, 2022|
A new recruit is asked to provide old pay slips from a previous job; this information is used to negotiate a salary. Later on, the new worker finds out that they are being paid far less than colleagues performing similar jobs and is either left feeling very disgruntled or even decides to quit. This potential scenario was explained in an article in The National newspaper examining whether this practice is right or wrong. However, it starts by quoting Al Rowaad Advocates managing partner Hassan El Hais that the law is silent to this issue and neither bans or requires people to share this information with new companies.
February 02, 2022|
Previously if you lost your job in the UAE, you would have to leave the country almost immediately. Those days are gone as part of an overhaul of the UAE labour law system, following on from fundamental legal changes in a number of other areas. Now residents are granted 180 days' grace to find a new job; meanwhile, people have the right to have flexible working hours, undertake part-time work and work multiple jobs, as Al Rowaad Advocates managing partner Hassan Elhais explains in this The National article. There is also study leave and mandated bereavement and parental leave; however, contracts can now only be given for three years at a time before renewal.
April 13, 2021|
How to navigate working hours during Ramadan is a question that comes up for many non-Muslims who are new to Dubai. One question I answered for a Gulf News reader recently related to whether Ramadan working hours were reduced for Muslims only or for all workers in the emirate. I explained the answer is complex as it relates to where in Dubai staff are working; in the mainland, the regulations do not differentiate based on religion. However, the different free zones in the UAE and Dubai have their own regulations and in some cases, such as DIFC, the stipulation that the working day be reduced to six hours applies only to Muslim employees.
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.
March 11, 2018|
In my publication this week, I discussed about the occupational injuries and the procedure to appoint a lawyer in UAE.
October 12, 2016|
In my interview in The Filipino Times newspaper, I explained about the labour law regime in UAE. I discussed various aspects of labour law like post-termination rights, claiming of rights, difference between free zone and mainland companies etc.
Total Publications: 19