Ask the Law
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QUESTION: My employer has terminated me without prior notice. However, the company is not willing to pay my bonus under the current pandemic situation. Am I eligible for bonus as my service was terminated only two months before I could complete a full year. My labour contract is under the Ministry of Labour. Please advise.

ANSWER: Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 is silent regarding the payment of bonus to the employee.

Therefore, payment of bonus is generally at the discretion of the employer unless the employment contract specifically mentions payment of bonus along with the basis on which the bonus will be calculated and paid. In some companies, employees are paid bonus as a result of custom or practice, which would have been prevailing in such companies for a long period of time. In such cases, the employees may claim bonus from their employers.

In case payment of bonus is a custom or practice in your previous company, you may request your employer to pay as per Article 1 of the Labour Law. ‘Remuneration’ here is defined as follows: “All payments made to the worker on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, piece work, or production or commission basis, in return for the work he performs under the contract of employment, whether such payments are made in cash or in kind. Remuneration shall include the cost of living allowance. It shall also include any grant given to the worker as a reward for his honesty or efficiency if such amounts are provided for in the employment contract or in the internal regulations of the establishment or have been granted by custom or common practice to such an extent that the workers of the establishment regard them as part of their remuneration and not as donations.”

EATING OUT DURING RAMADAN: WHAT ARE THE RULES?

QUESTION: With restaurants being allowed to function, is eating in public allowed for non-Muslims during this Ramadan?

ANSWER: During Ramadan, it is not permissible to eat, drink or smoke in public.

This rule is reiterated in the UAE’s Federal Law No. 3 of 1987, also known as the Penal Code. Article 313 of the Penal Code renders it a crime for anyone to consume food or drinks in public during the daytime in the Ramadan period.

Notably, this rule applies to everyone in the UAE, irrespective of faith or whether they are fasting. It is therefore important for UAE’s religiously diverse population to be aware of what is expected of them during Ramadan, as ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaching it. Punishment for a person deemed in violation of the law can be either imprisonment for up to one month, or a fine of up to Dhs 2,000.

Non-fasting people must keep in mind that they may eat and drink during the day, as long as it is not done in public where they can be seen by fasting people.

The law does not define the term “public” in this context, yet it is interpreted to mean any space which is accessible or visible to the general public.

There are certain exceptions. The legitimate reasons for which one may be excused from fasting are as follows:

1. In case of sickness

2. Travelling

3. Pregnancy and breastfeeding in case there is a health risk

4. Senility and old age

5. Compulsion