On Your Side: Our resident consumer advocate Keren Bobker answers questions on ID card fines, UAE overtime payments and a refund for an Etihad Airways booking.
I am looking for information about the Emirates Identity Card. Mine expired a long time ago. I went to my company's HR department to review my visa, which they did and they told me that was all I needed to do. I forgot about the Emirates ID card as I never use it and it was not mentioned by my employer. Someone has now told me there is a fine of Dh20 a day, which I don't want to pay. How do I get out of paying the fine? What is the penalty for not paying the fine? Will they send me to jail? RH, Dubai
It is true that there is a fine of Dh20 per day for not having a valid ID card. This starts accruing 30 days after the card has expired. You cannot get out of paying it and it will continue to build up until you make an application for a new card. You need to contact the Emirates Identity Authority as soon as possible to make a new application. The fine is capped at Dh1,000 and is payable with the application. To my knowledge, no one has been sent to jail for overdue fines on the ID card.
I am a chef and I was working in a five-star hotel. I have a query about overtime. I joined the hotel in 2012, prior to its opening, and I was made redundant after nine months. On my last working day, I met with the HR director and my head of department. While my department head said I should be paid overtime, the HR person disagreed. The head of my department had signed this off, but the HR director said that according to Article 72 of the UAE Labour Law, I was in a position as a supervisor and they do not need to pay me for the extra hours worked. I have received my final salary payment and I was not paid for any overtime. My visa has been cancelled and I have a new job now. I would like to know if I can apply for the overtime payment from my previous employer as my department head agreed to it and the HR people changed it. CF, Dubai
When a person leaves the employment of a company, they are usually asked to sign documentation relating to the cancelling of their visa and confirmation that all payments due to them have been made. If this is the case, then CF will not be able to make a complaint because he has accepted the terms of leaving service. It is also true that Article 72 of the UAE Labour Law states that certain categories of employees are not entitled to receive overtime payments. These are "persons holding responsible senior posts in the management or supervision if holders of such titles are vested with the authorities or employers over employees, and such category is to be determined by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs". Whether a person is entitled to overtime depends on the job title on their visa, not simply what their employer says, although this is now academic in this particular case.
On November 15, 2012, I made bookings through the Etihad call centre for myself and two family members from Abu Dhabi to Geneva. The call lasted an hour, at the end of which the agent realised that she had booked me onto the return leg twice, with no outbound flight. I requested that she sort it out and call me back. A couple of hours later she called, but wanted my credit card to book the correct flight. I refused as it was her error and I should not have to put another charge on my credit card. They have reserved a ticket for me on the correct flight, but it will not be paid for until I get the original costs back from Etihad. She also insisted that my 10-year-old daughter needed an adult ticket. After several attempts to correct the mistakes by phone, on November 28 I visited an Etihad office. They advised me to call again and speak to a supervisor to get the ARN number/transaction code. I have tried to do this several times, but each time I have been told there is no supervisor and that they will call me back. Needless to say, they never do. The Etihad office did manage to sort out the problem with the child's ticket, but it took 15 minutes to persuade the call centre that my daughter was born in 2002. The refund for this came through on December 6. This morning, I decided to give Etihad one last chance. After 30 minutes, mainly on hold, I told them that they had until noon to return my call with some progress on the refund before I contacted The National. Several hours later, I had a call from a supervisor who was clueless about my problem. I am an Etihad Gold member and they are my airline of choice, but I have found this really frustrating. BP, Abu Dhabi
I referred the issue to Etihad and it was resolved in a few days. BP has confirmed that instead of refunding her for the ticket issued by mistake, the airline is using the money to pay for the correct ticket. This is what she requested initially and was told, incorrectly, that it could not be done. BP is satisfied with the outcome and Etihad has apologised for the problems.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at email@example.com