INTERIOR MINISTRY (visas, residencies, and naturalization)
the message board for Dubai English speaking community
dbxsoul wrote:The UAE is a Federation of Seven Emirates and is regulated by Federal Laws and statutes; each Emirate is able to implement the Law according to their own needs and requirements as long as they are able to adequately manage the system. To this end the Federal Labour Law is applied across the UAE, but with noticeable variations (mainly exceptions to the rule) in the Emirate of Dubai - for example the exceptions to the Labour Ban. This applies also to the variations regarding the implantation of the Law with Free Zones in the UAE.
As noted in one of the postings below there are different interpretations of the Labour Law in different Emirates. The information on this posting is specifically intended to people/ persons seeking employment in the Emirate of Dubai.
The Federal Labour Law and the Contract Document above specifically excludes (Under Article 3): all persons employed in State, Municipal or Public bodies, members of the Armed Forces, Police and Security Service as well as domestic servants and agricultural labourers.
The Official UAE Federal Labour Contract is in fact a “Boilerplate” document. It covers the basic/ essential information pertaining to the employment of an individual under the UAE Labour Law (Federal Law No. 8 of 1980).
This is a dual English/ Arabic document. As Arabic is the legally accepted language (not English) employees should always get someone who can read Arabic to ensure that the translation is accurate in both portions of the document especially if your remuneration is bonus or incentive based, if you can’t read Arabic, the placement of a decimal point can mean the difference to whether you receive the bonus you were expecting or merely pocket change!
“Arabic shall be the sole language to be used in all records, contracts, files, statements and other documents provided for in this law or in any resolution or regulation issued in implementation of its provisions. Arabic must also be used in instructions and circulars issued by the employer to his employees. However, in the event where a foreign language is used by the employer alongside Arabic, the Arabic text shall prevail.”
This is the official and only document recognized by the Labour Department. Other documents that a potential employee may encounter are and “Offer Letter” or “Offer of Employment” as well as an “Employment Contract”.
Offer Letters are just that, the offer of employment to a potential employee and normally cover the basics such as hours, leave dues, remuneration etc. By virtue of the fact that many expatriates are English speaking you can expect the Offer Letter to be presented to you for scrutiny in English. Offer letters are by no means contractually binding; the employee needs to perform “due diligence” and ensure that what is offered actually materialises on the Labour Contract when it is drafted.
From a Western perspective Employment Contracts issued by large companies and signed by both parties are legally binding documents; these can be contested in open court to the benefit of either party (employer or employee). A “Western” style employment contract is nothing more than a “gentlemen’s agreement” in this (UAE) context!
In the UAE a farmiliar "western style" employment contract is not accepted –unless the document is translated into Arabic and submitted along with the Federal Labour Contract – in which case it is noted as an appendix in the “Other” portion at the end of the contract document.
The Federal Labour Contract (and appendixes if any) is the only document legally accepted in the case of a dispute. As stated in the Contract (Point 6): one copy is held by the Department of Labour, the other two copies issued to the employer and the employee.
Subject to what is provided for in Article (2), the labour contract shall be made in two copies, one to be delivered to the employee and the other to the employer. If no written contract exists, all its conditions may be proved by all legal means of proof.”
Limited or Unlimited this is in effect the duration or period terms of the contract.
Limited contracts are those of a fixed term 1 year, 2 years, 36 months etc. - there are penalties should either party want to break the contract prior to it's conclusion. Essentially the maximum penalties by law are a 1 and a half months wage payable by the party breaking the contract. However if you break the contract don't expect to get an NOC from your employer if you are seeking a better position!
Unlimited or indefinite contracts are similar to "western" contracts where there is a period defined in the contract (normally 3 years which corrosponds with the validity period of a residency visa), the contract can then be re-newed after this period on the same terms as the pre-existing contract. Either party can give 30 days notice to terminate the contract.
Article 120 of the Federal Labour Law states:
"The employer may dismiss and employee without notice in any of the following cases:
A. If the employee assumes a fictitious personality or nationality or if he submits fake documents or certificates.
B. If the employee is appointed under probation and the termination happens during that period or at its end.
C. If the employee commits a mistake causing grave financial loss to the employer provided that he shall inform the labour Department of the incident within forty eight hours from being aware of its occurrence.
D. If the employee violates instructions regarding safety of the work or the place of work, provided that such instructions are in writing and are displayed at a prominent place and he must have been informed of them orally if he is illiterate.
E. If the employee fails to carry out his basic duties according to the employment contract and continues to do so in spite of being subjected to a written interrogation and a warning that his services will be terminated if he repeated the actions.
F. If he discloses a secret of the establishment where he works.
G. If he is conclusively convicted by the court of an offence involving honour, honesty or public morals.
H. If he is found to be obviously intoxicated or under the influence of drugs during working hours.
I. If he commits a physical assault on the employer or the manager in charge or one of his colleagues during working hours.
J. If the employee absents himself without a legitimate reason for more that twenty interrupted days or more than seven continuous days during a single year.”
In some of the above cases (such as assault) you can only be summarily terminated if the Police (and then the Labour Department) have been notified and a formal case opened against you. If no case no formal case is filed you cannot legally be terminated from your employment - they may however take internal action against you such as imposing a fine or deducting pay - but again the employer has to notify the Department of Labour of the incident so that it can be recorded on your file.
“An employee shall not work for another employer during his annual or sick leave provided for in this chapter. If such action is proved by the employer, he shall have the right to terminate the services of the employee without notice and deprive him of his wages for the leave period”
This is slightly misleading, as under Article 75 the law provides for only 24 days of leave in the first year and 30 days thereafter. Leave benefits can only be accrued after successful completion of the probation period.
“For every year of service the employee shall be entitled to an annual leave which must not be less than the following periods:
1. Two days for every month if his service is more than six months and less than a year.
2. Thirty days annually if the employees’ service exceeds one year. In case of termination of his service, the employee shall be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the last year.”
Point 8 (c)
Basic salary - this is the amount on which your final gratuity payment will be based on. Over time you may receive increases in salary etc. employees need to make sure they receive written notification of this increase on a company letterhead, duly signed and stamped with the company stamp. In theory a copy of this document is supposed to be sent to the Department of Labour and your contract amended accordingly. In practice however this very seldom occurs - hence the necessity to keep copies of all supporting documentation.
Most official company documents bare the companies stamp/ seal on them to be valid – this applies to everything in Dubai whether is a No Objection Certificate, letter of reference, salary certificate or your Labour Contract. It seems almost paradoxical that so much weight and faith is placed in a small rubber stamp that could be copied in most printing shops in Karama!
Documents also have to have the sponsor’s signature on them (or a General Manager in the case of some documents). Legal documents such as a Labour contact or Tenancy agreement have to have the Local sponsor’s signature on them as even though a company may be a partnership between a UAE National and a foreigner the local normally has the legal authority – not the foreigner.
<work in progress - more notes to follow>