Dubai: If you have joined a new job, but do not wish to continue working, what are your options to quit and look for another job?
According to the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE), in principle, you are expected to remain in the employment of your employer for the duration of your contract. However, while you are expected to honour your obligation to work for your employer, you cannot be made to continue in your employment relation against your will.
Your employment relation is a contractual relationship and this means that it can be ended by you as it can be by your employer.
According to MOHRE, the termination of your contract can be by mutual consent, either initiated on one side by you, or on the other side, by your employer. Your contract contains a termination clause that describes the steps that must be followed when both or either party choose to terminate the employment relationship.
The country’s labour law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – and its governing regulations also provide the guidelines and rules you need to keep in mind when changing jobs.
Are you still on probation?
If you are resigning during your probation period, it is important to remember that you may have a one year labour ban issued on you, in certain situations. If you are joining another company, though, there is also a provision for the new employer to compensate your previous employer for the recruitment costs. For a detailed guide on the factors that you need to keep in mind when resigning during probation, click here.
But if you have completed your probation period and wish to leave the job, you should follow these steps to ensure you do not face any legal liabilities:
1. Read your employment contract to ensure that you are serving an appropriate notice period.
The notice period for a full-time employee who plans to terminate a work contract can be anywhere between 30 to 90 days, according to the UAE Labour Law. Your labour contract will specify the notice you need to serve to your employer. If you want to know how you can get a copy of your labour contract, read our detailed guide here.
Failing to serve your notice period can lead to financial liabilities, as you may be asked to pay your salary for the notice period you do not serve, according to Priyasha Corrie, Managing Partner at Integriti Law.
“Under Article 43(3) of the new UAE Labour Law, the party that does not comply with the notice has to pay to the other party compensation, i.e., 'payment in lieu of notice', equivalent to the employee's salary for the entire notice period or the remaining part of the notice period,” she said.
Under Article 43(3) of the new UAE Labour Law, the party that does not comply with the notice has to pay to the other party compensation, i.e., 'payment in lieu of notice', equivalent to the employee's salary for the entire notice period or the remaining part of the notice period.
2. Send your resignation in writing
Corrie also advised employees to ensure that they inform their employer of the decision to resign in writing, whether through an email or a letter. It is important to clearly state your notice period and last day of work, as per the requirements mentioned in your labour contract. This requirement is as per Article 43 (1) of the UAE Labour Law.
What if my employer does not respond to my resignation email?
According to Dr Ibrahim Al Banna, CEO of Ibrahim Al Banna Advocates and Legal Consultants, while an employee is required to send his or her resignation in writing, an acknowledgement from the employer is not required, as per the UAE Labour Law.
“The employer is not required to expressly acknowledge the notification,” Dr Al Banna said.
3. Receive all your end-of-service dues
Once you have completed your term of service as a full-time employee, your gratuity will be calculated as per Article 51 of the UAE Labour Law. It is important to note that gratuity is calculated on an employee’s basic pay.
“While calculating the gratuity of a foreign employee, the employer shall, in accordance with Article 51 (5) of the Labour Law, calculate the same based on the last basic salary to which the employee was entitled to, whether he or she receives a salary on a monthly, weekly or daily basis,” Dr Al Banna said.
“While computing the gratuity of a foreign employee, the amount ascertained as gratuity shall not exceed the remuneration of two years that is payable to him or her. Above all, the employer, while ascertaining the amount to be paid as gratuity, is entitled to deduct any amount which is due to either the employer or any other person or entity in accordance with law or judgment delivered by a competent court,” he added.
4. Ensure that your work permit is cancelled
Once the permit and visa is cancelled, employees may have an extended grace period ranging from 30 to 180 days, in most cases determined by the visa category. This extension from the previous 30-day grace period allows flexibility based on the specific visa category. Post the cancellation, the employee shall either commence an employment relationship with another entity or exit the country.
As per Article 7 (3) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 Concerning the Executive Regulations of the Labour Law, the employer has to apply to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) to cancel the work permit. According to Dr Al Banna, the employer is also required to apply for the visa cancellation with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs (GDRFA) Dubai or the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP), if the employee was on the company’s sponsorship.
“Once the work permit and the visa are cancelled, the information stating that the permit and visa has been cancelled would be entered in the database of MOHRE and GDRFA. But the access to the said database has been restricted to employers,” Dr Al Banna said.
While you cannot access the authorities’ database as an employee, you should receive cancellation papers from your employer, which provide details of when the work permit and visas were cancelled and how long you have to stay in the UAE.
“Once the permit and visa is cancelled, employees may have an extended grace period ranging from 30 to 180 days, in most cases determined by the visa category. This extension allows flexibility based on the specific visa category. Post the cancellation, the employee shall either commence an employment relationship with another entity or exit the country.”
5. Reach out to MOHRE for any questions
The lawyers who spoke with Gulf News also advised readers to speak to the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation if they needed any guidance on the new Labour Law. To raise your questions with the Ministry, you can call them on 800 84 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The story was first published on June 23, 2022 and has been updated since.