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Labour claim must be submitted within one year

Sacking employee without notice to be considered as arbitrary dismissal

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I resigned in November last year after having worked in a company for more than four years, but I am yet to receive my end-of-service benefits. I am still on my company visa, which will expire in November next year. My company has offered me an amount but it is less than what I am supposed to get as per the Labour Law calculation. When I told them that I would file a labour complaint claiming my rights before the Ministry of Labour, my employer said that complaint might be rejected for the reason that I did not claim my right within one year. Therefore, I have to accept the offered amount, the employer said. My question here is: Would the complaint be rejected by the Ministry of Labour for the reason that I did not file it within one year. Am I not exempted from that law since I am still under the company sponsorship?

I would like to clarify to the questioner that Article 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 Labour Department concerned. 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 the date of submitting the request, refer the dispute to the court concerned. 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 the 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 the court after the lapse of one year from the date on which such entitlement became due, and no claim shall be admitted if the procedure stated in this article are not adhered to.”

Therefore, as per the above article, the questioner is not entitled to claim for his end-of-service dues after the lapse of one year from the date on which such entitlement become due. The article is applicable to the questioner even if the questioner is still under the company’s sponsorship.

Arbitrary dismissal

I have worked in a company for more than four years under an unlimited contract. Three months ago, I asked the company to give me annual leave for two months. I went on leave and returned to the company, but the company officials asked me to sign a paper stating that the annual leave period shall be considered as leave without pay. I declined to sign the paper and the company’s manager told me that due to the financial circumstances the company was facing, the company did not have work for me and asked me to search for a new job. The company was ready to give me a visa transfer in case I found a new job. Three months later, I returned to the company and asked the officials to reinstate me in the job, as I could not find another job. They immediately gave me a termination letter. I have not received my salary for more than six months. They asked me to leave work immediately. My questions are: Is this action against the Labour Law and could it be considered as unfair termination? Am I entitled to get salary for the period I was without a job, though I had not worked in the company during the said period because it did not allow me to work and left me without a job? Am I entitled to one-month notice pay? In my contract, my notice period is only for 15 days.

I would like to clarify to the questioner that the termination of his service by the company might be considered as an arbitrary dismissal as per the Labour Law, in which case the company shall compensate the questioner with three months’ salary in addition to his end-of-service gratuity. The questioner is also entitled to claim his salary for the period in which he was without a job, because the company did not allow him to work. As in accordance with the Labour Law, the company is responsible for providing a job to the questioner as long as he is under the company’s sponsorship and his contract is not terminated. As for the notice period pay, the questioner is entitled to one month’s salary. Reducing the notice period to less than a month is invalid and is against the Labour Law because as per the law, the parties may not agree to reduce the notice period, but may agree to increase it.

— Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants