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Employer has little choice but to accept worker's resignation

On your side: Keren Bobker answers questions on contract termination and the UK pensions programme.

I have been working with my company for almost four years now on an unlimited contract. In the third week of March 2013 I verbally informed my employer that I was resigning, and since it was a verbal communication, on April 1, I formally submitted my resignation through company email and met with him to discuss the issue personally. My boss requires me to extend my service for another month, while on the other hand, the new employer wants me to join the company by the first week of May. I do not want to work for them for another month and insisted to my boss that I be released by the end of April, but he did not accept. What can I do? RL, Sharjah

Article 117 of UAE Labour Law clearly states: "The employer and employee may terminate the employment contract with unlimited period, for a valid reason at any time after conclusion of the contract by written notice duly given to other party, 30 days at least prior to termination." If notice has been given for the period specified in the contract of employment, or for 30 days per Labour Law if not stated, the employer has no option but to accept that the employee has the right to leave. If an employer refuses to accept then the individual should contact the Ministry of Labour on 800 665 as it will assist.

In one of your columns a short while ago you gave information about getting information about old UK pensions, so I thought I'd try to track down mine. It seems that I need to quote my National Insurance number, but I've been out of the UK for so long that I can't find it. Can you tell me how I can trace this? - WR, Dubai

If you cannot find your National Insurance number, there are procedures in place to find it. You need to complete and return form CA5403, which can be found on Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs website www.hmrc.gov.uk. Or if you will be in the UK at some point you can telephone the National Insurance Registrations Helpline on local rate number 0845 915 7006.

I am planning on renting an apartment and the one I have found is available directly from the owner. I have read your previous comments about using only an agent registered with Rera (Real Estate Regulatory Authority), but I don't know where I stand with renting directly. The owner has sent me an email with copies of his passport and the title deeds, which appear OK. What makes me uncomfortable is that I have met him only once at the apartment and he is refusing to provide me with a written contract until I give him a cheque. Despite this he has said that it is OK to move in before the actual start date. Is this normal and what do I need to look out for? - HM, Dubai

If you are planning on renting directly from the owner of a property then you need to take additional care and attention to ensure that the person you are dealing with is the real owner. There have been a number of recent cases where people have been duped and lost significant amounts of money. You need to ensure that you have all the relevant paperwork and are satisfied with identities before handing over any money. The title deeds should be proof of ownership and you should ensure that the name matches up with the passport you have been given and that this belongs to the person you are dealing with. If the person you are dealing with is acting on behalf of the owner then you need to ensure that they have the power of attorney or other legal authorisation from the Dubai courts. If you are dealing with a second person, then you should have copies of the passports of both parties. Under no circumstances make any payment without having received a contract with acceptable terms that comply with the law, as well as all the relevant paperwork.

I got married a few months ago and would now like to change my surname to my husband's name. I know how to go about changing my passport to my new name, but I'd like to know if I will also have to change all my other paperwork, such as residency visa and identity card. Is it essential that I do this or can I keep those in my current name and just change them when they need renewing in 18 months? - EB, Abu Dhabi

If someone changes their name on their passport, then it is essential that all other formal documents issued in the UAE also match, so they must also be changed. The Emirates Identity Authority has advised that identity cards must be amended within one month of any changes and even if a woman does not change her surname, she should also visit a registration centre to update her status to married on the card.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com

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