A reader from Dubai asks: My sister had been working in a Dubai-based company for five years under an unlimited contract. It is mentioned in the contract that she has to give three months’ notice before resignation. Last January, she went on a leave for one month and she could not come back for certain reasons. She sent her resignation by email two weeks after she was supposed to rejoin the company. The company did not reply. Right now, she is out of the UAE. She does not want to go back to her company. However, her visa has not yet been cancelled by the employer. Her work permit is expiring in September 2019. What does she need to do as per the UAE Labour Law? Does she need to send her passport to her previous employer to have her visa and work permit cancelled? Does she have the right to claim her end-of-service dues?

By resigning when she was outside the country, the questioner’s sister has violated the labour law especially if her contract is for an unlimited period. She should have notified the employer and served the notice period mentioned in the labour contract and then completed the handover procedure properly. By not doing these, the questioner’s sister might lose the end-of-service gratuity. Besides, the employer might request the Ministry of Labour (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation) to impose a one-year ban on her. Therefore, if she cannot return to the country, she has to send her passport to cancel her sponsorship, work permit and visa by the Ministry of Labour and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Property price refund

A reader from Ajman asks: I had booked an apartment in a 20-storey tower with one of the developers in Ajman. However, construction of the tower stopped midway. I have already paid about 50 per cent of the total price of the apartment. When I asked the developer to refund the paid amount, the company refused. Instead, it advised me to swap the apartment with a similar one in a tower based in Dubai. The Dubai tower is also under construction and no one knows when it will be completed and apartments handed over. This is not acceptable to me. The developer has flatly refused to refund my money. Does the Ajman Real Estate Law give the right to the developer to offer me another apartment in another city? I do not want that offer and such an option is also not stated in my purchase contract. In case, I decide to go to the court and pay the court fees, will I be able to get a refund of the paid amount and the court fees?

If the questioner has failed to reach an amicable solution with the developer, he has to serve an official notice on the developer through a competent court stating that the amount paid by the questioner must be refunded. If the developer fails to respond to such a notice, the questioner shall file a case before the competent court claiming his rights on the basis that the developer had violated the terms and conditions of the purchase contract. The questioner will be able to get a refund of the paid amount and all court fees from the counter party in case the court passes a judgement in his favour. The question also has the right to claim a maximum profit allowed by the court in addition to a proper compensation. Finally, the Ajman Real Estate Law does not force the questioner to accept a replacement apartment in case the developer fails to hand over the apartment purchased by the questioner as per the purchase contract.

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