Question: I had worked in an establishment for more than four years. The company was then sold to a new owner. Four months later, the new owner terminated my limited contract which was to expire in February 2019. 

I claimed my labour dues from the new owner but he told me that the old owner was responsible for paying my dues, not him.

He also told me that both of them (the old and new owners) had agreed with each other that the old sponsor would pay my dues.

I tried to call my old employer but his PRO told me that he has left the country. I would like to know, as per the law, who is responsible to pay my labour dues? Do I have the right to claim my rights from both the old and new employers?

Answer: I would like to clarify to the questioner that Article 126 of Federal Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 states the following: “Where a change occurs in the form or legal status of the establishment, contracts of employment that are valid at the time of the change shall remain in force between the new employer and the workers of the establishment and their service shall be deemed to be continuous.

"Both the original employer and the new employer shall be jointly liable for a period of six months for the discharge of any obligations resulting from the contracts of employment during the period preceding the change; after the expiry of this period, the new employer shall solely bear liability.”

The UAE Labour Law does not entitle the previous employer and the new employer to breach the above article. The questioner in this event may claim his labour dues from both the previous and the new employers.

Probation only for 6 months

Question: I have been working for a company for four months. I am currently on probation. The employment contract states that the probation period is six months, but my manager told me that as per the system in the company, the probation period is ten months.

The company also made me sign a letter stating the same after the manager told me that my services would be terminated if I didn’t agree. In case my employer terminates my labour contract during the probation period for no reason, do I have the right to claim compensation?

I don’t want to work for a probation period of more than six months, which is also stated in the UAE Labour Law, I believe. Is the notice period included while calculating the end-of-service dues? Please advice.

Answer: Article 37 of the UAE Labour Law states the following: “A worker may be engaged on probation for a period not exceeding six months, during which his services may be terminated by the employer without notice or severance pay, provided that a worker shall not be engaged on probation more than once in the service of any one employer. Where a worker successfully completes his period of probation and remains in his job, the said period shall be reckoned towards his period of service.”

As per this article, the employer has no right to increase the probation period, that the questioner’s company has done is contrary to the UAE Labour Law.

In case the questioner and the company cannot reach an amicable solution, the questioner shall file a complaint before the Ministry of Labour (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation) in this regard. As per the labour law, the notice period is included while calculating the end-of-service dues.

At the same time, the employer has the right to terminate an employee’s services without notice during the probation period. In that case, the employee has no right to claim compensation.