I joined the Abu Dhabi office of a Canadian company as a “local” expat more than three years ago. I have a Ministry of Labour contract that mirrors my contract with my employer. I am on a five-day week and work 10 hours per day. My monthly salary is paid against time sheet submittal, hence my payslip displays the hours worked. Recently, there has been discussion that I will be transferred to our head office in Canada. While this might be an administrative act initially, it means that I would eventually move my office base out of the UAE. In that event, my Ministry of Labour contract would have to be cancelled. At the time of my contract cancellation, I guess I would be entitled to severance pay according to Labour Law, despite staying with the company and being based outside of the UAE. Can you confirm this assumption?
JH, Abu Dhabi
When employment in the UAE comes to an end, the end-of-service gratuity becomes payable even if an employee is transferring to another office in the same company outside of the UAE. The exception here would be if someone signed a contract stating they would waive their entitlement, usually due to a retirement savings plan being in place and the employer making contributions that are at least equivalent to the amount of the accrued end-of-service payment. The end-of-service gratuity is calculated on basic salary, excluding allowances. Although JH may have been working 10-hour days, this makes no difference to the calculation, even though the Labour Law states that a standard working day is eight hours. This is because he is at a managerial level and is not entitled to overtime. If his monthly income varies, the gratuity will be based on average monthly earnings.
I bought a property in the UAE a few months ago. I have a few other things here, some of fairly significant value. I also own a cottage in the UK, although I have nothing else there and it is leased on a permanent basis. My plan is to remain in Abu Dhabi for many years. I have a will that was prepared for me in the UK about 15 years ago. But that was before my divorce and it needs some changes. Some people have said I need a separate will for the UAE, while others say that my current will is fine, or that I can just make some changes to it. Could you clarify how this should work? I want to make sure that specific family members get the properties in different countries when I die, but that my ex-wife does not benefit. FS, Abu Dhabi
As a British national, only your final will is taken into consideration. You remain subject to UK regulations regarding your assets at the time of death, as well as being liable for UK Inheritance Tax on your worldwide assets. The making of a new will revokes the previous one, hence the term "last will and testament". If you made another will, even if it was intended only to cover your UAE assets, your previous one would be invalid. In fact, your last will is invalid because you have divorced since it was made. This means you have to make a new will anyway. Your UK will can include assets held outside of the UK and if it is translated into Arabic and attested (which need not be done until after death), it will also be taken into consideration by the UAE courts. Even if you had not divorced, you would probably be advised to make a new will rather than add a codicil, which would also cover assets in the UAE, as the courts here tend not to like seeing amendments of that kind. I strongly recommend that you use an experienced lawyer to arrange a will because this is a complex matter.
I am an Indian passport holder and I worked for a Dubai-based company as a clerk from 2008 to November 2009. The company was sold and I received my settlement. My visa was transferred to a different sponsor, a Dubai-based construction company, from December 2009. On January 18, 2012, the company told me not to come to the office and they were cancelling my visa. The company prepared my cancellation papers on the same day and asked for my signature. I asked the company for my settlement and it said it would pay, but I was not given a termination letter or my settlement. My visa also has not been cancelled by the company. After one week, I asked why my visa was still not cancelled and the company said there was an issue with the previous sponsor. Eventually, I was paid to January 18 through the Wages Protection System. But 31 days later, my visa has still not been cancelled and I cannot take another job. The company also has my passport. JJ, Dubai
If someone is made redundant, they are entitled to receive notice or payment in lieu. In this case, JJ is entitled to receive 30 days' notice, which should be given in writing. Even if he was not required to work for that time, he is entitled to be paid. At the end of this 30-day period, he should be paid in full and also receive at least part of his end-of-service gratuity. If service has ended, for whatever reason, the employer should cancel the residency visa without delay and they must not retain the employee's passport for an extended period. JJ should register a case against the employer at the Ministry of Labour, which will be sympathetic to his situation.