Dubai firm breaks many laws in case of accountant made to work in warehouse

I accepted my current job as I had few options at the time. I later realised that the job profile I was supposed to do is totally different from what I was told, which was working in the accounts department. After three months the company asked me to work in a warehouse for a few months as that person was going on holiday. I gave it 100 per cent and eventually returned to the office, but I was then asked to work in various departments for holiday cover. I have done it all without complaining but I have again been asked to do a manual job which I have refused. I have been there for 15 months, paid Dh3,000 as visa costs, and now want to cancel my visa and am giving in my notice. The company, which is located in a free zone, refuses to pay for leave that has not been taken, and will also not pay my return ticket to India. Can I get paid for a year’s leave even though the employment letter says no leave for two years? SR, Dubai

I have seen the offer letter given to SR and his employer has broken several UAE labour laws. He thus has a very strong case for making a formal complaint via the Ministry of Labour. The employer has taken a fee from an employee to process their visa and that is not permitted, as it is quite clear that the cost of employing someone must be borne by the employer.

The contract also states that the employee will pay a further fee to the company if they leave within three years and again this is not permitted. It does not matter that SR has signed the job offer letter as a company cannot contract around a federal law, even if they are in a free zone.

It seems unfair not to allow anyone to take any days of leave for two years, but if someone leaves employment having accrued days of leave that are not taken, they are due payment in lieu.

Article 79 of Labour Law states: “The employee is entitled to receive cash in lieu of annual leave days not availed by him … if he left the service, after the period of notice stipulated by law.

Cash in lieu of leave is calculated on the bases of pay received by the employee at the time of maturity of such leave.”

Regarding the cost of a flight, Article 131 states that “expenses for repatriation of an employee to his place of origin or any other place agreed upon by both parties shall be borne by the employer. If the employee after the end of his contract takes up employment somewhere else, repatriation expenses upon termination of his service shall be paid by the last employer”, but it also goes on to say:“If the cause for termination of contract is attributed to the employee, his repatriation will be arranged at his own expense if he has the means to pay.”

This indicates that the cost may need to be borne by SR. He should raise a case with the Ministry of Labour either by visiting a labour office or calling the helpline on 800665.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 20 years’ experience. Contact her at Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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