Dubai: If you are stuck outside the UAE, unable to return, can you resign from your job in the UAE? What are the legal repercussions if someone files his or her resignation letter while they are not in the UAE?
A Gulf News reader who is stuck outside the UAE asked: “I am currently in the Philippines and have not been able to return to the UAE and join my company. Due to some family obligations I do not think I can return to the UAE for some time. Can I send my resignation to the company via email? What are the problems I can face? Can my company impose a labour ban on me? Please help.”
Gulf News raised the query with Reda Hegazy, Senior Legal Advisor and Arbitrator, Al Suwaidi and Company, who confirmed that it is legal to submit your resignation even if you are not in the country, adding that employees can submit their written resignation, along with the reason for resigning mentioned in the letter, and notify the employer via email, courier or any electronic means, according to Article 113 of the UAE Labour Law.
“The employee must comply with all contractual or legal consequences of his or her resignation including serving the notice period, handover by the employee to the employer or its representative of all the office items or equipment in their possession like laptop, company customer data, documents, keys, etc.,” he added.
The employee must comply with all contractual or legal consequences of his or her resignation including serving the notice period, handover by the employee to the employer or its representative of all the office items or equipment in their possession like laptop, company customer data, documents, keys, etc.
In case the employer requests the resigned employee to work during the notice period, the employee must comply as per the law.
“As we are in the pandemic circumstances, if the employee is outside the UAE and can work online, then he or she must do it. However, if the type of job cannot allow him or her to work online and he or she cannot come back to the UAE to work due to public reasons, like travel restrictions between the two countries, then this circumstance will be considered a force majeure and the employee’s commitment to comply can be ignored as per Article 273 of the UAE Civil Code,” Hegazy said.
What is force majeure?
Force majeure – literally translated as superior strength from French – is a legal clause referring to unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. Article 249 of the UAE Civil Code provides that if exceptional circumstances of a public nature, which could not have been foreseen, occur and because of these circumstances, fulfilling a contract becomes oppressive for a party, but not necessarily impossible, the judge has discretion to reduce the obligation to a reasonable level.
Hegazy added that based on such circumstances, the company does not have a valid reason to file a travel ban against the employee if he has submitted his resignation letter from outside of the country.
However, if you are unable to return to the UAE for an extended period of time, it is important to close your bank and telecommunications accounts and settle your rental contract with your landlord to ensure you do not return to the UAE and face financial or legal liabilities.
Find out how you can close your bank account from outside the UAE here.