I have just moved to Dubai to work for a well-known UK restaurant that will soon open here. I worked for the restaurant in the UK for nearly two years and when I moved here, I didn't realise I would be employed by a different company and that different rules would apply. I have now found out that not only am I going to be fired from the Dubai branch, but I will not be able to return to the company in the UK. I have been dismissed due to an alleged bad attitude towards a manager who was victimising me. They have also said it is due to socialising with staff. I understand that I have no rights, but they won't even meet me to let me put my side across. They have told me that they are cancelling my visa and my flight home will be on Thursday. I feel let down, but need to know my rights in regard to my visa and applying for other jobs. ST, Dubai
ST thought she was moving to Dubai to work for the same company, but was given little information and discovered that she was working for an entirely different company that was using the same restaurant name. Under the UAE's Labour Law, she has no job protection during a probationary period and the company can dismiss her without reason at any time. It seems unfair to do this to someone who has effectively been seconded from the UK. The employer cannot retain her passport once the residency visa process has been cancelled. Working in ST's favour, however, is the fact that she was made redundant. This means she will not receive any employment ban and because she has a British passport, she may obtain a tourist visa and stay in the UAE until she gets a new job or the visa has to be renewed. Had ST left of her own accord in the first two years of employment, she may have been subject to a ban of six months. ST now has her passport and should be starting work with another company in Dubai shortly. The restaurant's head office in London had not replied to my queries about this issue at the time of going to press.
My employer has told all staff that our office will be closed for one day for Eid, on Sunday, November 6. But friends working for other companies have been told that they will be closed for three days in total. My boss says that only government departments get an extended holiday, but some people are saying otherwise. Can you tell me what the law says? PE, Sharjah
Under UAE Labour Law, Article 74, every employee, regardless of whether they work in the public or private sector, is entitled to a three-day official paid holiday on the occasion of Eid Al Adha and Waqfa Day. This year, Eid Al Adha has been announced to fall on Saturday, November 5. The official holiday is from November 5 to November 7, inclusive. If an employee is required to work on any or all of these days, they are entitled to either a cash payment of at least one day's pay in lieu or time off when mutually convenient.
I have noticed in many grocery stores that they do not give exact change back when you pay in cash. For instance, if I am due back 35 fil, they only give 25. One store I went to recently doesn't even carry 25 fil coins. I rarely receive the five or 10 fil coins because stores do not carry them either. Is this legal? In most cases, the rounding out of the total bill and the change due is in favour of the store. I am not so stingy to mind losing out on five or 10 fils, but when this happens repeatedly - and perhaps to every customer going through the line at the store day after day - it adds up to a significant amount of money. JFS, Abu Dhabi
It took a little investigation to find the answer to this query, but I was finally able to ascertain from the Consumer Protection Department of the Ministry of Economy that all retailers operating in the UAE are legally required to provide their customers with the exact amount of change. As a customer, you are legally entitled to request the exact change and cannot be fobbed off with a lesser amount. No doubt we are all familiar with the practice of rounding out, whether it is up or down, and many just accept it as a part of life in the UAE on the assumption that the 25 fil coin is the smallest in circulation. The UAE Central Bank, however, has confirmed that it mints coins of all denominations, which are 50 fil, 25 fil, 10 fil, 5 fil and 1 fil. My experience is that no one receives anything other than 50 and 25 fil coins in daily life, so one wonders where these smaller coins are. It is also not uncommon for a customer to be given sweets or chewing gum in lieu of small coins. If you want the exact change, then you must insist that the store gives you this and if they do not comply, the matter can be taken further by way of a complaint to the Consumer Protection Department. Its hotline number is 600 5225.