Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

'Can my sister drive my car when she visits Dubai?'

The reader is unsure whether it is legal for her sibling to drive her car on an overseas licence

Many UAE residents want family members to drive their cars when they visit the UAE. Silvia Razgova / The National
Many UAE residents want family members to drive their cars when they visit the UAE. Silvia Razgova / The National

My sister is coming to stay with me [in Dubai] for a few weeks and as I will be working for much of the time, I’d like to let her use my car when I am at work. Friends can’t agree whether this is legal or not, so can you confirm if she is allowed to drive it please? RF, Dubai

This has been an area of confusion for some time but according to the Roads and Transport Authority, it is possible for your sister to drive your car. The RTA website states: “If you are on a visit to the UAE and holding a valid international driving licence, accordingly you can rent a car or drive a car registered to your name or one of your first-degree relatives.” A sister is a first-degree relative so your sibling needs to obtain an International Driving Permit and bring this with her along with her driving licence. For absolute assurance, I also recommend confirming with the insurance company and obtaining their confirmation in writing, by email at least.

The RTA is part of the Dubai government, so this only relates to Dubai.

I sent my employer a resignation letter by email on November 24. I did not receive a reply until this week. I am on a limited contract which states I have a 30-day notice period and have to pay 45 days of my salary. Now my company is forcing me to sign an undertaking letter outlining terms and conditions after resignation and telling me to put competitor company names on it. Is it legal to be asked to sign an undertaking letter after resignation? RR, Abu Dhabi

No employer can refuse to accept an employee’s resignation although it is always wise to ensure it has been received. RR is correct that no employer should demand a change to a contract or enforce additional terms without the agreement of an employee and certainly not after they have resigned. RR should not sign any such letter and the employer has no right to demand such information. The only letter that should be signed is one to agree to the final settlement.

While UAE Labour Law makes provision to include a non-compete clause, this cannot be added after employment has started and certainly not after someone has resigned. If the employer is insistent, RR should refuse to sign and inform his employers he will register a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation or the relevant free zone.

I have a question about sick leave. My employer is moving to the Dubai International Financial Centre, so we will come under its rules and while we have been told the free zone has different regulations, we don’t have any details. I have a few health issues that mean I have to take days off, so I am concerned I may lose out. What is the entitlement for days and pay, as I have found conflicting information? PW, Dubai

DIFC has its own employment laws, which were updated earlier this year. According to DIFC Law No 2 of 2019, Article 34, an employee is entitled to 60 consecutive days of sick leave or "intermittent work days in aggregate in a 12-month period". Note that an employee who needs to take time off must "notify the employer of their absence as soon as reasonably practicable on the first day of absence and at least once every three days thereafter during the same period of absence". They must also "provide a sick leave certificate from a medical practitioner registered with a competent authority covering the entire period of absence" if it is required by their employer. If someone fails to do this, it can negate their right to any sick pay due.

Article 35 of the same legislation covers payment and states that an employer must pay 100 per cent of the employee's daily wage for the first 10 work days of sick leave taken in a 12-month period. That moves to 50 per cent of the daily wage for the next 20 work days in the same 12-month period. It adds "the employee shall not be entitled to receive any wage for any additional sick leave taken in the same 12-month period".

There is a further article that says if an employee takes more than "an aggregate of 60 work days of sick leave" over 12 months, the employer may terminate the contract "with immediate effect on written notice to the employee". This does not apply if an employee has a disability as defined in the same law.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

Updated: December 14, 2019 12:53 PM

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