x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Bonuses are factor when calculating final gratuity

On Your Side Usually, bonuses are factored into contracts when calculating final gratuities.

I read your reply to a question related to end-of-service benefits some time ago. Your reply states that the pay should be calculated on your final basic salary, including performance-related bonuses. I recently left my employer, a major international company. Over the past two years, I received discretionary bonuses of some 10 times my basic salary, which was partly paid in shares. Am I entitled to end-of-service benefits in regard to these bonuses? BS, Dubai

This is an issue that I have previously discussed with the Ministry of Labour. The ministry has confirmed that if a person has confirmation in writing from their employer setting out the terms of commission or bonus payments (for example, a fixed percentage above a certain amount of business obtained) and you have received regular payments, then these payments must be taken into consideration when calculating a gratuity. Usually, this will form part of the contract of employment. While the basic salary used for the gratuity payment is based on the final month's income, when commissions and bonuses are regular payments, these should be averaged over a period of up to one year. I would not expect the value of the shares to be taken into consideration, but the overall entitlement depends on the wording of the contract.

 

You have answered some queries about tax in the UK for Brits, but my situation is slightly different. I am Australian, but it looks as if my employer will be sending me to the UK on a long-term contract. I am likely to be there for quite a few years and I am interested in buying a house in London. Will I be taxed on monies that I take into the country to use towards the purchase price? Or will I have to pay capital gains tax? BD, Abu Dhabi

Because you are not a UK resident, nor have you been at any point in the past five tax years, you would have no liability to UK capital gains tax provided you moved your money before your situation changed. According to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs, you are liable when you become a UK resident and then it will only be charged on gains arising from disposals made after the date of your arrival in the UK. You should note, however, that this is what is known as an "extra-statutory concession" and is not a rule. But provided you move monies to the UK before taking up UK residency, you should not have an issue. The UK has a reputation for being generous to overseas investors based on this practice.

 

I have a question about employing someone in my home. I don't want a full-time maid, nor the hassle or expense of sponsoring someone, and a friend has offered to "lend" me her maid for a few hours a week. Because her maid already has a valid residency visa, would it be acceptable for me to employ her on a part-time basis? LC, Dubai

It is illegal for you to engage someone else's domestic staff in this way. A maid can only work for her sponsor and if she works for you as well, you could be liable for a considerable fine. It is likely that both your friend and the maid would be penalised, too. The Ministry of Labour regularly announces that it is taking action to stop this happening because the maids end up working far too many hours. I would strongly advise you not to take up your friend's offer, no matter how well it is meant. If you do not wish to sponsor a housemaid yourself, you should employ someone via a specialised agency for which you pay by the hour. There is usually a minimum four-hour charge and many agencies can arrange for the same person to come to your home at the same time each week.

 

I have bought an off-plan property in Dubai and have been paying for it throughout the slow construction period. The original sale price was Dh2 million, of which I have already paid Dh1.4 million. The problem is that I have pretty much run out of funds. The property is now ready and many other buyers have already moved in. I should easily be able to raise a mortgage because I have a good job and a good credit history, but the developer, despite completing the project, is not approved and neither is the development. I have approached the bigger and better banks, but they have all rejected the property. Do you have any ideas about how I can finance the rest of my purchase? Surely someone must be willing to lend on the development. AC, Dubai

It is standard practice in the UAE for both a developer and a specific development to be approved by a lender before it will consider it as collateral for a mortgage or secured loan. Each lender will have an "approved list" and, generally, the larger the developer, the more choices purchasers will have when it comes to arranging finance. This is a problem when buying from a smaller developer. Even if the initial purchaser can arrange a mortgage, it can also make it much harder to sell the property because the one mortgage company may have restrictions, not be able to assist everyone or could pull out of the market. This can significantly reduce the saleability of the property. In this particular case, the only mortgage provider in the UAE that will arrange finance for AC is Amlak.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at kerenonyourside@thenational.ae