A reader from Dubai asks: I have been working in the sales department of a company for more than four years. I draw a monthly salary of Dh15,000 plus commission. Recently, an unintentional error on my part resulted in a Dh100,000 loss to the company. My employer has decided to deduct Dh10,000 from my salary every month till the loss is covered. Is this legal? As per the UAE Labour Law, how much is an employer allowed to cut from an employee’s salary in such cases? In case my employer terminates my services in two or three months, do I still need to pay for the damages?

Article 61 of Federal Law No 8 of 1980 states: Where a worker, either through his own fault, or in violation of the employer’s instructions, is guilty of loss, damage or destruction of tools, machines. or products, or material owned by the employer, or in the employee’s custody, the employer may deduct from the worker’s remuneration such an amount as may be necessary to repair, or replace, the damaged items. However, the amount deducted shall not exceed five days’ remuneration for each month. The employer needs to approach a court through the concerned labour department for permission to deduct more than this amount if the worker has capital assets, or any other sources of income.

Finally, the questioner is obliged to compensate the employer for damages even if the employer terminates his services within three or four months. The obligation remains till the damages are settled.

Termination of service

A reader from Dubai asks: When and how can an employer terminate an employee’s services?

Article 112 as amended by Federal Law No 12 dated 29/10/1986 states: A worker may be temporarily suspended from work upon the charging thereof of a deliberate crime against life, property, honour, honesty, or of carrying out a strike.

The suspension period shall commence on the date of the notification of the incident to the competent authorities and till the issuance of a decision in the matter. The worker shall not be entitled to wages during the period of suspension. If the worker is exonerated of the charges , he/she shall be reinstated and paid full wages for the suspension period, should such a suspension be considered arbitrary by the employer.

Article 102, paragraph 3, of the Federal Law accepts suspension as a disciplinary rule and states that disciplinary action may be taken by the employer in the followings forms:

1) Warning, 2) Fine, 3) Suspension with reduced pay for a period not exceeding 10 days, 4) Deprivation from or deferment of periodic bonus in establishments containing a system for such bonuses, 5) Deprivation from promotion in establishments applying a system for such promotion, 6) Dismissal from work without prejudice to the end-of-service gratuity, 7) Dismissal from work and deprivation from the total end of service gratuity or a part thereof. Such a penalty shall not be imposed for reasons other than the ones mentioned exclusively in Article 120.

All this displimary action can only be imposed after issuing a notice to a worker with details of the charges in writing, and only after having heard the worker’s version and investigating the matter. Any such disciplinary action has to be taken within 30 days of the discovery of crime, or allegations made against the worker.