On Your Side The law states that those in an executive or managerial role can be expected to work additional hours without overtime pay.
Contracts should stipulate no more than 54-hour weeks
I have been offered a role in the hospitality industry as an assistant manager for a restaurant. We agreed on a salary and I have been sent a contract that specifies a 59-hour working week. When I queried this, thinking it was an error, I was told that it was correct and that additional hours would also be expected, for which I would not receive any overtime pay. This sounds like a very long working week, especially for the salary. Is there a legal maximum of hours, or can the company insist that I work as many hours as it wants? CS,Dubai
Under Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law, the maximum prescribed working hours for an adult employee is eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week. This can be increased to nine hours per day in the case of people in the hospitality industry. This means that employment contracts for people in the hospitality industry should state a working week of no more than 54 hours a week, so asking for a standard 60-hour working week is against the law. There is some ambiguity for more senior staff because the law states that those in an executive or managerial role can be expected to work additional hours without overtime pay. This means that you could legally be asked to work more than 54 hours a week, particularly because the role you have been offered is an assistant manager. However, the contract cannot state more than this as a standard working week.
I am British, but have lived abroad for nearly 20 years. I have few ties with England these days, don't own any property and have no plans to ever return to live in the UK. I have been told that when I die, the UK government has the right to tax my estate. Is this correct, even though I have not lived there for years? If so, is there any way around it? VR, Abu Dhabi
Because you are deemed UK domiciled (strictly speaking, domiciled in England), which is a strong concept in British law, on death your worldwide assets would be subject to inheritance tax. Residence has no bearing on this tax, which is applied to your worldwide assets if you are domiciled in the UK, and to your UK-based property if you are domiciled elsewhere. In the current tax year, the inheritance tax threshold, also known as the nil-rate band, stands at £325,000 (Dh1.9 million) and is the amount up to which an estate will not have a liability to inheritance tax. If the estate, including any assets held in trust and gifts made within seven years of death, is more than the threshold, inheritance tax will be due at 40 per cent on the amount over the nil-rate band. Because there is no inheritance tax to pay on transfers between spouses, a change was introduced recently that allows couples to double up their allowances on their estate to £650,000. It is difficult to change domicile, but it can be done if a person obtains another nationality and breaks all ties with the UK, usually including the closing of all accounts and investments and having few family ties. Expert advice should be taken on the subject.
A few weeks ago, you answered a query about cremation in the UAE. But I wonder if you could provide similar information about pets. I have a number of cats and dogs and am concerned about what to do when they eventually die. Am I allowed to bury them in my garden? Are there any rules that have to be followed? RB, Dubai
I contacted the Veterinary Hospital in Dubai (www.vet-hosp.com) for advice and they have kindly commented. "Should their pet pass away or has to be euthanised [put to sleep], there are a couple of options available to them. Firstly, if the pet has passed away at home, they would need to take the body to their veterinarian. The veterinarian would then arrange for the body to either be cremated in a joint cremation or a private individual cremation. The joint cremation involves a number of animals being placed in the same kiln. A metal ID tag is placed on each animal so the ashes of that particular pet can be identified and returned if requested. A private individual cremation involves the pet being placed on its own in the kiln. In either case, the individual ashes can be returned to the owner if requested. The ashes would be returned to the veterinarian who sent the body for cremation and who would, in turn, return them to the owner. The other option is to have the pet cremated in a large communal cremation. In this instance, the ashes cannot be returned to the owner. With regards to burial, this is unfortunately against municipality regulations. All deceased animals must be cremated."
I have been living in Dubai for more than four years and plan to stay for quite a few more. Before moving to the UAE, I lived in the UK for six years, so was paying into that system. I left the UK part way through a tax year and think I am due a refund of some of the tax I paid before leaving, but have done nothing about claiming it. Have I left it too late to make a claim? EB, Dubai
According to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC), if you want to make a claim for any tax year, there is a time limit within which you must do so. Each UK tax year ends on April 5 and for any particular tax year, you have to January 31 in the next year, plus a further five years to make a claim. For example, a claim for the tax year ended April 5, 2007, must be made no later than January 31, 2013. You may have even more time if HMRC is notified of your intention to claim (notice of intent) by the relevant date. It will consider a claim received after that date provided it is received without undue delay. The earlier you make a claim, the quicker you will receive any refund due.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.