Question: More than three weeks ago, I filed a complaint before the Ministry of Labour to claim my labour rights. The company PRO came to the Ministry of Labour and promised to settle the matter in one week’s time, in the second meeting he came to the ministry as promised and again asked for another week’s time, the arbitrator asked me to adjourn the meeting to the next week and I agreed. My question here is; what is the legal period as per the Labour Law for the complaint to remain in the ministry? My company PRO wants to buy time, he knew that I have a good offer from another company and he wants me to lose that offer.
I would like to clarify to the questioner that article No. (6) Amended, of the Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 states the following: “Without prejudice to the provisions concerning collective labour disputes stated in this law, if the employer or the worker or any beneficiary thereof raised a claim concerning any of the rights accruing to any of them according to the provisions of this law, he shall submit a request thereof to the concerned Labour Department. This department shall summon the two parties to the dispute and shall take whatever it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably. If the amicable settlement is not reached, the said department must within two weeks from date of submitting request, submit the dispute to the concerned court. The submission must be accompanied with a note including a summary of the dispute, the arguments of the two parties and the observation of the department. The court shall, within three days from date of receiving the request, fix a sitting to consider the claim and the two parties shall be notified thereof. The court may summon a representative of the Labour Department to explain the note submitted by it. In all cases no claim of any entitlement due under the provisions of this law, shall be heard if brought to court after the lapse of one year from the date on which such entitlement become due, and no claim shall be admitted if the procedure stated in this article are not adhered to”.
Therefore, in accordance with the above article, in the next meeting with the company PRO and in case no settlement has been reached in this regard, the questioner shall ask the Ministry of Labour to refer the complaint to the competent court and to reject any other adjournment in this regard.
A lady from Dubai asks: I worked in a private school for more than four years under an unlimited period contract. Last month I took a maternity leave for 45 days, but after the lapse of 30 days my school had terminated me and asked me not to return to work at the end of the maternity leave for the reason that it is the second time that I took my maternity leave. My question here is: A: Is the school management legally entitled to dismiss me from work while I am on leave and does such dismissal affect the current maternity leave dues? B: If this is not allowed, am I entitled to ask the Ministry of Labour or competent court to reinstate me in work? In case of a compensation for arbitrary dismissal what will be the amount and do they need to pay for the notice period as well? Please advise me, thank you.
Answer: I would like to clarify to the questioner that as per the law the questioner may not be dismissed from work while she is on leave. Therefore, the questioner’s dismissal from work by the school management is against the Labour Law and therefore the competent court might consider such dismissal as arbitrary dismissal whereby the school management will be obliged to compensate the questioner for the arbitrary dismissal. The compensation amount will be decided by the court and it may be from one month salary to a three months depending on the employee’s service period. Further, the questioner is entitled to one month notice pay according to the agreed period in the employment contract. I would like to tell the questioner that the Labour Law does not oblige the employer to reinstate the employee in his work for any reason. As for the question on the maternity leave dues whether it will be affected due to the termination of the questioner, I would like to tell the questioner that the said due will not be affected and the questioner is entitled to all her rights of the maternity leave despite the termination by the school.
Readers’ questions are answered by Advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants