Ask The Law | Employment

Can I leave my free zone job without penalty?

Employee is leaving for a non-free zone job and wants to know if the company can enforce the terms of his contract

  • Gulf News report
  • Published: 15:42 July 2, 2013

A reader from Dubai asks: I joined a company under Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (JAFZA) seven months back. The contract states that if an employee leaves within one year of joining, he has to reimburse the cost of visa and other expenses incurred by the company on him. I am now considering taking up a job with a company outside JAFZA. Kindly advise whether the company can enforce the terms of the contract and also if they would be entitled to put a ban on me.

In respect to the article in your contract which states that "if an employee leaves within one year of joining, he has to reimburse the cost of visa and other expenses incurred by the company on him", it is considered void and contrary to the Labour Law. But in this case, the employer is entitled to claim the compensation for the employee's violation of the labour contract, as the labour contracts in Free Zones like JAFZA are usually limited to two years.

Therefore, if the reader revokes the contract prematurely, then the company in this case has the right to claim ... compensation as he terminated the labour contract prematurely, and the amount of compensation varies between a maximum of Dh1,500 and Dh2,000.

Such an amount shall be determined according to the employee's position as well as salary.

The employer has the right to ask JAFZA to put a work ban for a year as such a work ban is applicable for JAFZA only.


Questions answered by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Bahar Advocates and Legal consultants

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