Dubai: With the new UAE Labour Law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 – coming into effect this year, what are the rules surrounding the situation where an employee quits during the probation period?
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has been issuing several Ministerial Resolutions or decrees following the implementation of the UAE Labour Law, which provide further details on how the law will be implemented. Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022, for example, provides details on the process that will be followed for settlement of labour disputes and complaints.
Article 8 of this resolution states that an employee can face a one year labour ban, if they quit their job during the probation period.
Subject to the provisions of Articles (9) and (50) of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021 and Article (28) of its Executive Regulations, a worker whose work relationship has ended for the reasons set out below shall not be granted a work permit before the lapse of one year from the date of his/her departure:
1. If the worker decides to terminate the contractual relationship during the probation period, provided that the employer is not in breach of his/her contractual obligations.
2. If it is proven that the work abandonment report found to be true.
*A work abandonment report or an absconding report is filed by an employer when the employee fails to report to work for seven consecutive days and the employer is unaware of his or her whereabouts.
Gulf News spoke with legal experts in the UAE to find out more about when a person may face a one-year labour ban and what are the exceptions as set out by the law.
When does an employee face a one year labour ban?
Reda Hegazy, a senior associate and arbitrator at Dubai-based law firm Alsuwaidi and Company LLC, said that there are some conditions mentioned in Federal Decree-Law No. (33) of 2021 and in Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022, that the employee must follow to avoid the ban in case he wishes to terminate his employment contract during the probationary period, either to join another employer in the UAE or to leave the country.
“In the first case, an employee that wishes to join another employer in the UAE during the probationary period, must serve at least a 30-day written notice, which can be sent through email or hand delivered, to his current employer prior to the desired date of termination. The new employer shall undertake to compensate the current employer for the costs of recruiting the employee, unless otherwise agreed,” he said.
“The second case is when an expatriate employee wants to terminate the employment contract during the probationary period to leave the UAE. In this case, he or she should notify the employer in writing not less than 14 days from the date of terminating the contract. However, under Article 9 of the new UAE labour law, if the expatriate employee leaves the UAE without abiding by the provisions as mentioned above, the employee shall not be granted a work permit to work in the UAE for a period of one year from the date of his departure from the UAE.”
Hegazy further added that Article 8 of Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022, stipulated that in case the employee wants to terminate his labour contract during the probationary period, without any breach of the obligation from the employer, and the employee did not comply with the conditions mentioned in Article 9 of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) as mentioned above, he or she would face a one year labour ban.
In this case, he or she should notify the employer in writing not less than 14 days from the date of terminating the contract. However, under Article 9 of the new UAE labour law, if the expatriate employee leaves the UAE without abiding by the provisions as mentioned above, the employee shall not be granted a work permit to work in the UAE for a period of one year from the date of his departure from the UAE.
Categories that are not subjected to labour ban
Hassan Elshahat Mohamed, an associate at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem and Associates LLP, also spoke about Article 11 of Ministerial Decree No. 1 for the year 2022 in relation to the Executive Regulations for Decree No. 33 for the year 2021, which places certain criteria and reasons sufficient to not have a ban placed on your work permit if you decide to leave during your probation period. These are the following:
1) To be in a field of work that is needed by the state;
2) A worker that is under a family sponsored visa;
3) Holders of the Golden Visa; and
4) Any occupational categories according to the needs of the labour market in the country for which a decision is issued by the Minister in accordance with the employment classification approved by the Cabinet.
How do I lift a labour ban?
According to Hegazy, if an employee does have a labour ban, they can lift it and share their grievances with MoHRE’s grievance committee.
“Under Ministerial Resolution no. 45 of 2022, concerning the formation of Grievance committee on the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization’ Decisions, a grievance committee shall be constituted and shall be responsible for examining grievance requests submitted by the employee and employer regarding the decisions issued by the Ministry. The grievance must be submitted within 30 days from the date of knowing the contested decision and must be properly reasoned with all supporting documents,” said Hegazy.
To read more about the setting up of this Grievance committee and how it works, read our detailed guide here.