Dubai: Not reporting to work in the UAE or taking leave without providing your employer with a valid reason won’t just cause problems in your professional relationship, it can also land you on the wrong side of the UAE’s labour laws.
Employees who fail to turn up for work for seven or more consecutive days, or more than twenty non-consecutive days (in one year) without informing the employer, violate Article 181 of the UAE Labour Law, which allows an employer to terminate a limited contract in such cases.
Jihene Arfoui, a Dubai-based legal adviser, spoke about the situation where the matter of an absconding employee is mentioned. There are two regulations in the Labour Law that come into play when cases of an absconding employee are considered:
Ministerial Decision No. 390 of 1991 on ‘Imposing on the Employer the Return Ticket of the Worker to the Country’ where the employer is required to notify the authorities of any employee escaping.
Article (131) of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 (the UAE Labour Law), which states that the employer shall, upon the termination of the contract , bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired , or to any other location agreed upon between the parties .
“In case the employer does not return the worker to the country from which he or she had been recruited, or in case the worker absconds or is unemployed, then the competent entity at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) shall deport such worker at the expense of the employer by directly obtaining the cost of the travel ticket from them,” Arfoui said.
In case the employer does not return the worker to the country from which he or she had been recruited, or in case the worker absconds or is unemployed, then the competent entity at the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) shall deport such worker at the expense of the employer by directly obtaining the cost of the travel ticket from them
“The employer, when reporting an absconding worker, shall pay the cost of the travel ticket to return the worker to the country from which he or she has been recruited, and shall submit any other documents required by MOHRE. No absconding notice may be received and no circular may be issued in this regard in case the cost of the ticket is not provided by the sponsor along with other required documents,” she added.
If an employer or establishment owner fails to report an absconding employee, by following the necessary procedures, they then face a criminal lawsuit, according the Labour Law.
However, there are certain conditions which need to be met when filing an absconding case, to ensure this is not used maliciously by an employer.
Arfoui clarified that when examining the request to register an absconding report or when examining its cancellation, the competent Public Prosecution officer must ensure that the conditions for the absconding report are generally met. It is not permissible to enter the absconding report in the following cases:
1. If the employee to be reported has a complaint or a labour case under consideration before the competent ministry or court.
2. If the employee is on sick leave, maternity leave, periodic leave, or absent for some other legitimate reason and seven consecutive days have not passed since the date of the leave or lawful absence.
3. If the facility knows the worker's whereabouts and the concerned employee believes that he or she can be summoned by the Ministry.
4. If the employee has not been absent from work for seven consecutive days
5. If the employee relationship ends for any reason, and a period of three months or more has not passed since its termination, whether or not the worker has a pending complaint or a labour case.
6. If the interruption occurred as a result of force majeure or an urgent, unexpected necessity, and the worker was not able to inform the employer, whether this was immediately after the end of the leave or while the worker was at work.
7. If the communication submitted as proof of absconding is fictitious.
8. If the report was malicious.
9. In any other case, if the competent Ministry employee checking the case is not convinced of the justifications for the request, and in this case he must refer the matter to the director of the department or office and issue a written order.
How can you prove that an absconding case against you is malicious?
As reported by Gulf News earlier, if an employee feels that his or her employer has wrongly filed an absconding case against them, they can file a complaint with MOHRE, through the Twa-fouq centres.
Muhammad Mohsin Naseer, legal consultant at UAE-based law firm Horizons & Co, spoke about how an employee can go about the process.
“The employee would be required to support his or her position by submitting all the relevant information and documents such as his passport, Emirates ID card, employment contract, notice of termination, office property handover sheet, company or employer’s details including trade or commercial licence, any other correspondences particularly wherein the employee may have requested the employer for cancellation of his visa along with fulfilment of other related matters by the employer. In the present scenario, it would be a better option if the employee submits such application through a lawyer in order to ensure protection of all of his rights from the initial stage,” he said.