I work on a limited-period contract
Question: I am a woman working in a private college in Dubai for more than two years under a limited period contract, which expires in November. The labour contract that I have signed with my employer has been attested by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The contract does not mention a competition clause, but my employer made me sign an agreement accepting that I cannot work for a competitor college if I quit my job. Since the competition clause is not mentioned in my official labour contract, and only mentioned in an internal agreement, does it apply to me as per the UAE labour law? Secondly, my employer has not paid me part of my salary for the last one year, can I make a claim for these dues? Third, can I resign after giving 30 days’ notice to the college management? The management may not accept my resignation as it wants me to continue working till the summer course is finished. In case I choose to leave immediately, will the ministry impose a labour ban on me even though I have a postgraduate degree? Can I request my employer to deduct one-month salary in lieu of the notice period so that I can leave the job immediately?
Asnwer: I would like to clarify to the questioner that she is working on a contract for a limited period. If such a contract is terminated pre-term, she will lose all her labour rights except the right related to leave. The questioner might be requested to compensate the employer with an amount equivalent to her salary for 45 days if the employer proves that he has suffered losses and damages due to such behaviour. The employer might also request the labour ministry to impose a one-year work ban on the questioner. As per ministry rules, the questioner can’t get such a labour ban lifted by paying a certain amount. Therefore, the notice period is not applicable in a limited period contract.
Since she signed an internal agreement, the competition clause is applicable to the employee even if it is not mentioned in the attested labour ministry contract.
Finally, the employee has no right to claim a salary, or part of the salary, after a year has lapsed since a claim had to be raised in this period.
Changing labour contract
I have worked in a company in Dubai for almost two years under a limited-period contract, which expires in October. Upon the expiry of my current employment contract, am I allowed to renew it as an unlimited period contract? My employer claims that as per UAE labour law, a limited period contract cannot be changed to an unlimited one during renewal. I have also been told that I will be violating the UAE labour law if I refuse to sign the renewed limited contract based on the same conditions of employment.
Answer: Article 40 of UAE Federal Law No 8 of 1980 states that “where the two parties continue to perform the contract without an expressed agreement after the expiry of its initial period, or after the completion of the work agreed upon, the original contract shall be deemed to have been tacitly extended on the same conditions as those already contained therein, other than the condition respecting its duration”.
Therefore as per the above article, upon expiry of the questioner ‘s current limited labour contract, he has the right to renew the labour contract as an unlimited period contract.