labour law

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December 15, 2020

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Know your rights - what to do when a work contract is bad

Reader recently arrived in Dubai but is unhappy with the job offer

Dubai: If you have accepted a job offer but are unhappy with the final contract offered to you, what are your options to refuse the job contract? This was the query raised by a Gulf News reader.

The reader asked: "Can I refuse to sign a contract with an employer who has put me on a visa and not willing to agree with me on the terms of the contract, and not receive a ban? Someone invited me from my home country to work with her. So, when I came, she immediately put me on a three-year visa, forcing me to sign a three-year limited contract with her, with a basic salary of Dh650 and other horrible conditions. So I decided that I will not sign such a contract and she wants to cancel the visa so that I can go back to my home country since she is very angry. Thus my worry is that can she probably put a ban on me after cancelling the visa if she wants. Is it legally possible?"

Gulf News raised the reader's query with Dr Hasan Elhais, legal consultant at Dubai-based Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultancy, who spoke about what a person's rights are in such a situation.

He said: "We understand from your question that you arrived inside the United Arab Emirates on an invitation by an employer. Whereas you have not informed us whether you entered the UAE on a visit visa status or a temporary work visa status issued by the employer. Notwithstanding, we will address your issues considering both the situations.

"As per Article 35 of the UAE Labour Law, the employment contract shall be written in duplicate, one copy handed to the worker, and the other to the employer. Furthermore, Article 36 of the UAE Labour Law provides that the employment contract shall determine in particular the date of conclusion thereof, the date of commencement of work, the type, location and duration thereof, should it be of a determined period, as well as the amount of the wage. Accordingly, we understand that you have not signed any employment contract with the employer and that you have neither started working for employer nor received any employment benefits including and not limited to any salaries from the employer. Therefore, it may be appropriate to consider that you do not have any labour relationship with the employer.

"With regards to your concerns pertaining to ban, it is important to note that a labour ban may only apply on employees who are in breach of the UAE labour laws or its regulations. Since there is no employment relationship that you have with the employer, there may not be any labour ban against you in the event you do not agree to the terms of the labour contract proposed by your employer. And therefore, you may exit the country during the validity of your visa, whether it is a temporary work visa or visit visa in order to avoid any overstay fine. You may also call Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to check the status of a labour ban against you," he added.

We understand that you have not signed any employment contract with the employer and that you have neither started working for employer nor received any employment benefits including and not limited to any salaries from the employer. Therefore, it may be appropriate to consider that you do not have any labour relationship with the employer.
- Dr Hasan Elhais, legal consultant at Dubai-based Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultancy

How to contact MOHRE?

You can raise a complaint or query with MOHRE through the following options:

  1. Call the Ministry's hotline on 800 60.
  2. Download the MOHRE app.
  3. Visit www.mohre.gov.ae and select the option for filing a labour complaint or speaking to a MOHRE agent.

If you file a complaint, you will receive a call within 72 working hours from a legal advisor with the Twa-fouq centre, who will try to initially find an amicable solution to the issue.

There is no fee charged for this process.

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