Employee; Know Your Rights

• You are entitled to keep possession of all your personal identification documents once your residency permit is issued

• If you are asked to sign a contract with different terms and conditions, even if you are advised that the changes are of advantage to you, report immediately to the nearest Labour Office, as contract substitution is illegal

• If your employer fails to present you with a contract or provide you with work, the Labour Office will assist you in finding alternative employment

• If your employer fails to present you with a work contract within one week of your arrival, report to the nearest Labour Office

• To avoid violating the law, do not accept other employment without first reporting to a Labour Office

• UAE law requires your employer to pay the costs of your recruitment and deployment including residency permit

• Your contract must match your job offer, and you should keep a copy of your signed contract

• You have the right to leave your job at any time, but be aware of your contractual obligations

• The termination of your contract can be ended by the employer or the employee, and it can be by mutual consent

• It is important for employees to follow the required legal steps for terminating a contract, as the Labour Office can help recover any dues that are owed to the employee and arrange placement in alternative employment if eligible to obtain a new work permit

The relationship between employers and employees is governed by Federal Act Number 8 of 1980 and its amendments. The Act is applicable to all employment relationships when engaging an employee, whether a UAE citizen or a foreigner. It is not applicable in the case of employment by a government authority.

A work permit is issued by the Ministry for two years, subject to renewal for similar periods. Employment contracts may be for a limited period specified in the contract or for an unlimited period, in which case the employee will continue working with his employer until the contract is terminated.

Working hours

Working hours are eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. However, for persons or employees in trade, hotels, and restaurants, the daily working hours may be increased to nine hours. For overtime work, the employee is entitled to an amount equivalent to the wage paid for ordinary working hours, plus 25 per cent. Overtime may not exceed two hours per day unless necessary. An employee is entitled to an annual leave of 30 days, and maternity leave and sick leave are not part of the annual leave.

Act Number 8 stipulates certain provisions for the employee’s health and safety and for workmen’s compensation against work accident. The employment contract may be terminated by mutual consent of the parties or on expiry of its duration. Any dispute arising between the employer and the employee will be resolved by the Ministry of Labor, which must make a recommendation within two weeks from the date the application for a dispute settlement is filed. If the parties fail to settle the dispute as recommended by the Ministry, the matter should be referred to the courts. The time limit for a lawsuit relating to an employment contract is one year from the date on which the amount claimed or entitlements become due. Employees are exempted from court fees before the court of first instance and court of appeal.

As per the UAE Labour Law, employers have to bear the cost of visa fee of the employee and the health insurance coverage of the spouse and two dependents below 18 years of age, and all the other costs, visa fee for children and their other document processing fees like national identity cards (Emirates ID), are paid by the employee.

Frequently Asked Questions
Employee can work for sponsor only
I have been working with a company in Dubai for more than six months on a limited contract. Now, I want to avail power of attorney of my mother’s company in Sharjah.
Since it’s a family business, my mother wants me to take care of some parts of the business and for that she is willing to give me power of attorney to legally run her business. Is it legal to work for my mother’s company under a power of attorney approved by the Sharjah Court though I am working for another employer?

A: According to Article 67 in the third chapter of the federal law number 6 for the year 1973, a sponsored person is under a duty to not work except for his sponsor. Similarly, the sponsor is under a duty not to employ who is not sponsored by him. Hence, if your mother’s entity is not sponsoring you, you cannot take a role in it and this will be considered as a breach of the law.

Breaching any of these obligations and working in an entity where you are not sponsored put all the parties in a risk of being prosecuted and hence, subject to a minimum fine of Dh50,000 each or imprisonment and the same amount of fine (KT).

Q: How much does a recruitment agency in UAE charge for job applicant?

A: There should be no charges from the applicant. The sponsor or employer has to pay the agency for all the expenses that may occur.

Q: What are the basic rights of foreign workers in UAE?

A: For professional, skilled and semi- skilled:
• The employer should apply for Medical, Emirates ID, Labour Contract and Resident visa within 60 days from the date of worker’s entry. Visa is valid for two years.
• A copy of the Employment Contract  must be given to the worker.

• There should be one day-off for the employee.

• The regular hour of work is 8 except for Hotel, Restaurant and Sales where the working hour is 9.

• Overtime must be given to the worker beyond 8 hours and 9 hours respectively.

• Gratuity or service benefits should be given to the employee upon completion of contract agreement.

Household Service Workers:
• Household Service Workers (HSWs) should have Emirates ID, Immigration contract and residence visa for 2 years. If the sponsor is a foreigner, then the residence visa is valid for 1 year only, renewable yearly. Medical test is must for first visa stamping and renewal. Sri Lankan and Indonesian housemaids should do Medical test from their home country also.

• One day day-off should be given to a domestic helper, as per agreement between the employer and employee.

• No overtime pay for HSWs.

Q: Is it legal to take part-time job?

A: No. An employee can only work with his/her sponsor whose name or company’s name is written in the residence visa. But some categories can apply for part-time work permit.

Q: What is the meaning of Overstaying?

A: An employee is considered “overstaying” if her/his residence visa is already expired. A grace period of one month will be given to the employee after the cancellation of his/her visa.

Q: What is the currency of UAE and how much is its equivalent in US$ Dollars?

A: The currency of UAE is Dirhams (AED) and equivalent to US$ 3.68.

Q: What is the dominant language/dialect in UAE?

A: Arabic is the native language. English is widely used for business and everyday communication.

Workers’ rights stipulated by the law: UAE

> Remuneration (salary) within first 10 days of a month

> One day of rest every week, including service workers

> Employing a worker less than 18 years is illegal

> 30 days paid annual leave and decent accommodation.

> Medical insurance at the expense of the employer

> A return ticket at the expense of employer once in every two years

> Right to receive treatment and compensation due to occupational hazards

> Non-employment of a worker in an area that is different from the nature of his work

> Right to keep his or her identity documents including passport and Emirates ID

> Right to obtain a copy of employment contract

> Right to sick leave.

> Right to end of service gratuity

Know the types of visa bans
Here are the dos and don’ts to avoid them.

If you are working in the UAE, it is crucial for you to know the different types of visa ban rules that apply to the region.

A visa ban prohibits a person from entering the country or taking up a new job. It is important to know the dos and don’ts to make sure you avoid getting a ban.

Permanent residency ban:
This type of ban is applicable to any serious labour offense considered illegal or absconding. The federal department keeps record of banned individuals (fingerprint and scanned sample).

Labour Ban

Labour ban is only executed under the following situations:

> On the expiry of contract, when on action is taken by the present employer’s end in relation to your employment.

> In case, if no new application is applied by different employer.

> Termination of unlimited labour contract before completing 1 year service.

> Termination of limited labour contract before date of expiry.

Immigration ban

This ban denies the entry of the employee in the UAE. The reason depends. It may be a criminal offence, bad debt, bounced cheque, rape violence, rash drinking, drinking, theft, inappropriate relationship, etc. Immigration ban is also applicable when you have broken government rules and regulations.

Employment ban
This type of ban is also called work permit ban. You can work in the UAE for a limited period of time, but can be applicable for 6 months or permanently.

Six-month ban

Candidates who left their job without legally binding reasons may be given a 6 month ban by the employer. This is imposed by the Labour ministry on the employee’s labour card or work permit.

Howsoever, this ban does not affect your entry in UAE. You can easily enter UAE on tourist or visit visa.

One-year ban
When you resign any job prior to its completion of limited contract, this is enforced. When you lose your case filed against labour ministry, this rule comes to exist. In this case, the employer needs to start the proceeding of work permit even before the expiry of the visa. The ban gets automatically activated, if new application is not forward well before expiry of work permit or visa.

How to avoid getting a visa ban?

First thing that you need to assure is that your current employer has executed proper action for extension of your employment contract, even before it expires. The employer needs to go to the Ministry of Labour. If changing jobs, you need to be sponsored by the new employer or else your labour card gets banned. Lastly, knowledge is power. Always keep up to date with the latest rules about Dubai visa and employment issues, as well as amendment to labour laws.

7 reasons why your UAE visa application may be rejected
Below are the most common reasons:

1. If you held a residence visa previously and left the country without cancelling the UAE visa. To get an approval, the PRO will have to go to the immigration department and clear your previous residency visa.

2. Hand written passports will automatically get rejected by the UAE Immigration.

3. Visa applicants with previous criminal offence, fraud or misconduct committed in the UAE.

4. Previously applied for tourist visa but did not enter the country. In order to get an approval, PRO of the travel agency or sponsor must go to the immigration to clear the previous UAE visa.

5. Applicants who applied for employment visa via a company (prospective employer) but did not enter the country. To get an approval, the PRO of a travel agency or sponsor must go to the UAE immigration and clear the previous employment visa.

6. Visa application with typo errors of name, passport number, and profession code will see a delay in getting approval, or result in rejection of the passport.

7. When photo of the passport copies are not clear or blurred when applied in the online UAE immigration system, the approval might get delayed or rejected.

Visa rules are subject to changes. Follow UAE embassy in your country or the relevant authority in the UAE.

Marital status not criterion for employment visa
Q: I work for a private company in Dubai, and I am sponsored by the company. I am not married and I hear there is an age limit for non-married ladies to get an employment visa. Can you please tell me up to which age a lady who is not married can work on an employment visa in UAE?

A: It is understood that you are an unmarried lady working in a private company at Dubai and your employer provides your employ-ment visa. Further, you understand that there is an age limit for unmarried ladies to be under the employment visa provided by the employer.

Pursuant to your question, it may be noted that an individual’s marital status is not the criteria for issuance of employment visa, in accordance with the prevailing laws of the UAE. It is understood that since January 2011, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (the “Ministry”) of the UAE is accept-ing requests for work-permits of individuals up to the age of 65 years. As per the prevailing prac-tice, for all employees working at private sector entities, the retirement age is deemed extended up to 65 years. However, the upper limit of 65 years on the retirement age may be further increased in consider-ation of the individual’s nature of work, his or her credentials or ex-pertise which is important for the entity he or she is working for. Further to this, employment visa may be issued to an employee annually after the em-ployee attains the age of 65 years, subject to the approval of the ministry. (KT).

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