I have worked in a company in Dubai for more than three years on an unlimited contract. Now, another company has offered me a job at a higher salary and better position. My contract requires me to give my current company three months’ notice before leaving. If I resign, am I legally bound to serve the notice period? The company has told me that even after I serve the three months’ notice period I might have to continue working till they find a replacement. Is it possible to compensate the employer instead of serving the notice period? Is the employer-employee relationship deemed terminated once the resignation is submitted? Does the labour law stipulate that the notice period is for one month only?

If an employee working on an unlimited contract wishes to resign, he is required to give notice to the employer and work during the period if the employer so desires. After the notice period ends, the employer has no right to force the employee to continue working. As for the labour law, the employee is required to serve the notice period. If he refuses to do so, it will be considered a violation of the law and be subject to a penalty. An employee, however, can be exempted from serving the notice period by the employer. The contract shall remain in force till the end of the notice period in accordance with Article 118 of the Federal Labour Law No 8 of 1980. As per the law, notice period covers a minimum of one month. It can be increased by mutual consent.

Gratuity calculation

I have submitted my resignation after working for two years in a Dubai company on an unlimited contract. How is end-of-service gratuity calculated? Is it on the basis of 21 days’ salary? Am I entitled to a return ticket to my home country? I signed the contract with the employer in my home country and the employment contract does not provide for ticket.

Article 137 of the Federal Labour Law No 8 of 1980 states that “where a worker under an indefinite term contract abandons his work at his own initiative after a continuous service of not less than one year and not more than three years, he shall be entitled to one-third of the severance pay provided for in the preceding article. Such a worker shall be entitled to two-thirds of the said severance pay if his continuous service exceeds three years up to five years and to the full severance pay if it exceeds five years”.

Finally, an employer is obliged to give an employee a return ticket to his home country if the employee has cancelled his residence visa and decided to go back to his country.

Questions answered by advocate Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.