x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Free-zone worker free to go – it’s all down to time served

Can I resign from one free zone company and move to another without being banned?

I work for a multinational company in Dubai Internet City on an unlimited contract in an office-based technical role earning Dh26,000 per month. I have been verbally offered a position by another blue chip organisation in the same free zone for a higher salary of Dh33,000, but I am still in the three-month probation period. If I resign, can my employer impose a ban on me and is it something which can be waived as I am a qualified chartered accountant? Secondly, what happens if my probation is over and I resign soon after that without completing a notice period as my current employer has a three-month notice period requirement? SB, Dubai

If someone works in a recognised free zone, their sponsor is the free zone itself, not their employer. That means that if they leave the employment of one company and move to another within the same free zone they would not receive an employment ban. The law is unclear about the notice that someone in their probation period has to provide but it is generally expected to be 30 days, although an employer may agree to let them leave sooner. Once the employee has worked for longer than the specified notice period then they are fully bound by contract terms and in this case, if he has passed the initial probation period, SB would need to provide three months’ written notice if he wishes to leave his current job.

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