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Termination of Employment on an office desk. Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Question

One month ago my employer terminated my unlimited contract for no reason after three years in the company. At the same time my employer insisted that I serve my notice period, but I refused on the grounds of unfair dismissal and left the company immediately. My termination was via email and I replied to say I didn’t accept it. My question is: is an employee obliged to work during their notice period? And is termination via email considered legal?

Answer

UAE Labour Law No. 08 of 1980, Article No. 117, mentions the following; both the employer and the worker may terminate a contract of employment for an unlimited duration for a valid reason at any time following its conclusion by giving the other party written notice of at least 30 days. In case of workers working on a daily basis the period of notice shall be as follows:

■ One week, if the worker has been employed for more than six months, but less than one year;

■ Two weeks, if the worker has been employed for not less than one year;

■ One month, if the worker has been employed for not less than five years.

Therefore as per the above-mentioned article, the employee, upon the employer’s request, must work for a notice period even if their termination was unfair or was an arbitrary dismissal. Finally the termination sent via email to the employee is considered valid and legal and does not require employee approval.

Question

I’ve discovered that my colleagues are getting paid more than me for doing the same job over the same working hours. Is that allowed?

Answer

There is no article in the UAE Labour Law or Civil Transactions Law that prohibits or prevents employers from paying different wages to different people for the same job. This is based on the acceptance of the employee for the contract conditions, and for this purpose both employees and employers have the right to put their own conditions in the contract. Both also have the same right to accept or refuse those conditions. Employers are allowed to pay different workers different rates for doing the same job, so long as they don’t breach equality laws linked to gender, including pregnant women or those with young children, ethnicity or age. As long as that is not broken and the employer pays above the national wage, then they are free to agree on different rates based on factors such as skills, competencies and seniority.

If you are concerned about a difference in pay, you should raise it with management informally and then in writing.