Leaving job stock
How long should your notice period be? The answer depends on many factors, including whether or not you are on your probation and what your employment contract states. Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Are you planning to resign from your job in the UAE? If so, you are required to serve a notice period to your employer, to inform them of your decision to leave the job.

But how long should your notice period be? The answer depends on many factors, including whether or not you are on your probation and what your employment contract states.

Here are all the regulations you should be aware of.

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Why serving your notice period is important

According to UAE Labour Law – Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 – both employers and employees must provide written notice when terminating an employment contract. This notice period allows for a smooth handover of duties and helps employers find a replacement.

As a worker, not serving your notice period can lead to financial liabilities – if you fail to serve your notice period, you would be required to compensate your employer for the period that you failed to serve the notice, as explained in our detailed guide here.

Explaining why an employee needs to pay the compensation to the employer, Zeiad Yehia, senior legal counsel at Kashwani Law Firm, said: “Compensation in the Labour Law of the UAE differs from that in Civil Law. While Civil Law requires fault, damage and a causal connection to award compensation, Labour Law operates differently. Under Article 43 (2) of UAE’s Labour Law, even if one party fails to give notice as agreed, compensation is due to the other party, regardless of any actual harm caused. The compensation equals the worker’s wage for the entire notice period. It is crucial to note that the term salary during the notice period refers to the gross salary, including allowances.”

How long should my notice period be?

As mentioned above, the notice period you need to serve depends on various factors, so here is a breakdown of what you need to know.

1. 30- to 90-day notice period

In a majority of the cases, your notice period would be anywhere between 30 to 90 days. This is as per Article 43 of the UAE Labour Law, which states that the notice period should not be less than 30 days and not more than 90 days.

The exact period that you need to serve, within this duration, whether it is a one-month, two-month or three-month notice would be mentioned on your employment contract.

You can get a copy of your employment contract through your company’s human resources (HR) department, or find it online, through the smartphone application of the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) or by visiting a Tas’heel centre.

1. Either party of an employment contract may terminate the contract for good cause, by giving the other a notice in writing. The worker shall perform his duties during the notice period agreed upon in the contract, provided that the notice period is not less than 30 days and not in excess of 90 days.
2. Employment contract shall continue in force throughout the notice period and expires with the expiry of the notice period. The worker shall be entitled to his full wage for such period on the basis of his last wage and shall perform his work if the employer so requests. The parties may agree to waive the notice clause or shorten the notice period, provided that the worker reserves all his entitlements due for the notice period agreed upon in the employment contract. The notice period shall be equal for both parties unless the same is in the interest of the worker.
3. The party in breach of the notice period shall pay the other a compensation called pay in lieu of notice, even if no harm results from the failure of notification. The compensation shall be equal to the wage of the worker for the entire notice period, or the remainder thereof.
4. Notice pay shall be calculated based on the ​​​​​​​last wage received by the worker, for monthly, weekly, daily or hourly paid workers, and on the basis of the average daily wage referred to herein for piecemeal paid workers.
5. If the employment contract is terminated by the employer, the worker shall be entitled to absent from work during the notice period for one-working day without pay per week, to search for another job. The worker may designate the day of absence provided that the employer is notified at least three days before such day.

2. 14-day notice period

If you resign from your company while you are still on probation, and plan to leave the UAE after quitting, you would need to serve your employer with a notice period of 14 days. This is as per Article 9(4) of the Labour Law. On the other hand, if you wish to join a new company in the UAE, the notice period will be 30 days, and your new employer is required to compensate your previous employer for the costs of recruitment and contracting.

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3. No notice

There are also some cases where you can leave your job without needing to provide a notice period, which are mentioned in Article 45 of the UAE Labour Law. As per the Article, a worker can resign without notice in the following situations:

1. If your employer has violated your rights – as mentioned in the Labour Law, its executive resolutions or in your contract. However, you would need to notify MOHRE at least 14 days before you put in your papers to resign. The law also states another condition in this situation - the employer should have failed to rectify the situation, despite being informed by MOHRE to do so. If all these conditions are met, you are entitled to resign without notice, as per Clause 1 of the Article.

2. In case the worker has been assaulted by the employer, or the employer’s legal representative. In this case, you should inform the competent authorities and MOHRE within five working days from the date on which you were able to report the incident.

3. If the workplace poses serious dangers to a worker’s safety and health, and the employer fails to correct the situation, despite being aware of it.

4. If you are asked to perform tasks that are fundamentally different from the work agreed upon in the employment contract, and have not consented to. However, there are certain exceptions to this clause, which are highlighted in Article 12 of the UAE Labour Law. To know more, click here.

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How to send my resignation letter

When you do plan to resign, it is important to remember that you can do it via email or hand the letter in-person to your manager. The resignation letter should also have some basic details clearly mentioned, including your notice period. For a comprehensive guide on the things you should remember when writing a resignation letter, click here.