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Notice period is one of our most asked about subjects and here we tackle some common questions. 

1. Is notice period mandatory?

For all labour contracts, notice period mentioned in the contract is mandatory as it has been agreed between the employer and employee. When an employee resigns he is obliged to serve the notice or pay a compensatory amount, unless he or she has a written statement from the employer waiving the notice period for whatever reason.

2. Can the notice period be more than a month?

UAE Labour Law stipulates a minimum notice period of 30 days or one month. The parties can agree on a longer notice period but can never reduce it to less than 30 days. So yes, if you agreed to serve a notice of two months, you will have to, unless your employer waives it.

3. What happens if you don't serve the notice period?

If the employee is on the wrong side of the law, and terminates the contract without serving previously agreed upon notice or agreeing to a cut in the end of service dues commensurate to the notice period, he or she can be banned from working in the UAE for a period of up to one year. The employer can do this by filing a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The complaint can be appealed by the employee if he believes the charges to be unfair or false, which is then investigated by a competent court.

4. Limited contracts and notice periods

If you are working on a limited contract, the employee cannot terminate the contract with or without notice before the end of the contract term. If the employee prematurely terminates the contract, he or she can be banned from working for up to one year as per the employer's complaint.

5. Can an employee ever leave without notice?

There are some situations laid out where an employee is allowed to terminate without notice and face no legal repercussions. Section 14 of the UAE Labour Law states two situations; if the employer has not fulfilled his obligation towards him as provided in the contract or in this law or if he was assaulted by the employer or his legal representative.

6. When does the notice period start?

Notice period starts on the day resignation is submitted, or as an email, delivered. An employee’s resignation comes into effect from the date that it is submitted to the employer. The consent of the employer is not required. Resignation by email is also acceptable by law as long as delivery of email can be proven - acknowledgement or reply is not necessary.  

7. Can an employee be forced to work beyond the notice period?

No, an employee is only required to serve his or her agreed-upon notice period according to his or her specific contract. One of our readers was asked to stay on a job, even after notice period, until her replacement appointment was made. This is illegal on the company's side and they cannot withhold you from terminating the contract, and have to pay or return all dues as is legally necessary.