Questioner from Dubai asks: I have signed my labour contract with my company but I did not get my labour contract copy so I don’t know wether my labour contract is limited or unlimited. I kept on asking for my contract but no respond. Is that legal and as per the labour law?

Accommodation and other allowances are mentioned in my labour contract but my company is refusing to it to give me. I’m getting my basic salary only and also not on time sometime I get my salary after two months. Can I resign the job on this ground? What will be my position if my resignation is against the labour law?

My company made me signed one letter that if I leave the job before the end of my contract, I have to pay Dh15,000 as a compensation for the company. Is that legal as per UAE Labour Law?

Currently, I have completed 12 months with my company. If I resigned for the reason that I’m not getting my right as per the labour law, what actions can the company take against me? Note: that I’m holding a master degree in business. Please advise.

Answer: The questioner may obtain a copy of the employment contract from the ministry as well as from typing offices which deal with the Ministry of Labour (Tasheel). The employer’s failure to give the questioner a copy of his employment contract is contrary to the law. As for the other questions, the employer is bound by what is contained in the labour contract regarding the allowance. If the employer failed to provide the questioner what is stated in the said contract, the questioner shall file a complaint before the Ministry of Labour in this regard. With regard to the penalty clause of Dh15,000 on the questioner if he terminates the contract pre-term, if the questioner’s contract is for a limited period, in this case, by law he shall compensate the employer of a period not exceeding 45 days from his salary or the remaining period of the contract. If the employer proves that the employee has made damages and loss to his company by breaking the limited contract but the labour court judgement states that the employee was forced to break the contract and considers that as arbitrary dismissal, the labour court will direct the employer to compensate the employee. But if the contract is for an unlimited period and he has violated the labour law, such clause will be at the competent court’s discretion, as the latter might reject such clause on the bases that it is against the worker and in accordance with UAE Labour Law article 7 which states: “Any stipulations contrary to the provisions of this law, even if it was made prior to its commencement, shall be null and void unless they are more advantageous to the worker.”

Finally, I would like to advise the questioner not to submit his resignation now, as he has completed 12 months only, and if he submits his resignation the Ministry of Labour, as per the employer’s request, will impose one-year ban due to breaking the contract if the contract is for a limited period. If the labour contract is unlimited the Ministry of Labour will impose a 6-month ban because the questioner did not complete 2 years in service. The questioner can lift the ban if he found a new job — the salary must be Dh12,000 as long as he is holding a high degree. If the labour court found out that the breaking of the contract, limited or unlimited, by the questioner is as per the labour law, the Ministry of Labour would not impose the ban and would allow the questioner to work with new a company regardless of the salary.

Working hours

Question: I’ve been working for more than two years in a construction company as foreman with an unlimited contract. My contract states that the working hours per day are eight hours. For six months the company imposed new rules that we have to work 10 hours a day without overtime because the company delayed in one of the big projects and they may pay a penalty for that delay. They say anyone not obeying the company rules will be sacked. Due to this, I’m planning to leave my job as soon as I get a good offer

Do they have the rights to terminate my contract if I will not follow their new rules regarding the working hours? Also, my company is not reducing working hours during Ramadan as per Ministry of Labour orders. My company says reduction of work hours during Ramadan is a matter of company discretion and is not mentioned in the Labour Law.

Finally, regarding the time spent by a worker between home and place of work is that included in his hours of work? We spend two hours going to work and 2 hours coming back from the work. Please advise.

Answer: The UAE Labour Law, article 65, states the following: “The maximum normal hours of work of adult workers shall be eight a day or 48 a week. The hours of work may be increased to nine hours a day in commercial establishments, hotels and cafes and of guard duties and any other operations where such increase is authorised by order of the Minister of Labour. The daily hours of work may be reduced in the case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Minister of Labour.

“The normal hours of work shall be reduced by two during the month of Ramadan.

“The periods spent by a worker in traveling between home and place of work shall not be included in his hours of work.”

Therefore, the employer has violated the above article and if he refused to pay the value of overtime hours and reduce the working hours in Ramadan, the questioner shall file complaint before the Ministry of Labour in this regard. If the employer terminates the employment contract due to above mentioned reasons he will be in breach of the employment contract.

Ask the Law questions are answered by Advocate Mohammad Al Shaiba, of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants