x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

All UAE workers are eligible for an end of service gratuity payment

All UAE workers are eligible for an end of service gratuity payment, unless they sign correspondence waiving their right to it provided an alternative benefit is offered.

I have a part-time job and have been working for this company for over 18 months. I work flexible hours that suit both me and my employer and these average around 20 hours a week. I have not asked for my airfare back to Canada to be paid or for any medical insurance or holiday pay, but I had assumed I would receive a gratuity when I eventually leave. My boss is now asking for me to sign a document to say that I will not make any claim on them for airfares, holiday pay or gratuity. I don’t want to sign unless their request is in accordance with the Labour Law as it would not be fair to be refused any benefits I am entitled to. SN, Al Ain

SN is sponsored by her husband and has a labour card from her employer, as well as a basic contract of employment. All workers are eligible for an end of service gratuity payment, unless they sign correspondence waiving their right to it provided an alternative benefit is offered. Part-time employees are not exempt and the end of service gratuity is based on their average income. Where the employer is offering membership of a savings plan that is to the employee’s benefit, you will often find this is an alternative to the standard gratuity and certainly that is what the law expects. But an employer cannot refuse to pay a gratuity just because someone works part-time. Nor can an employer force an employee to sign such a waiver document and it is going against the spirit of the Labour Law. While specific agreements can be made, it would be more reasonable for this to be agreed at the outset, not some time down the line. There is no legal requirement to provide airfares for someone employed from the UAE, but even part-time employees are entitled to holiday pay and they are also entitled to statutory holidays with pay. By law, all employees with an Abu Dhabi residency visa must be provided with medical insurance by the employer, unless the employee already has HAAD (Health Authority Abu Dhabi) compliant cover, such as being on a husband’s policy.

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