Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 12 July 2020

'Is an employee allowed to work for another company during annual leave?'

The employer wants to know what legal course of action can be taken

UAE Labour Law states that an employee may not work for another employer during annual or sick leave. Getty Images
UAE Labour Law states that an employee may not work for another employer during annual or sick leave. Getty Images

I own a company and we insist that our staff use their full annual leave allowances every year as we think it is good for them to take a break. I have now found out that one of our staff members was working for another company during his annual leave. I didn’t know about this and I wasn’t asked for permission. This other company is sort of a competitor which makes it worse. If we want to discipline this employee, where do we stand by law? We have a mainland licence. Is the other company breaking the law by employing our staff member? MT, Ras al Khaimah

As MT has a mainland company, UAE Labour Law applies in full. As an employer, he can choose the course of action to take, whether it is a warning or immediate dismissal. Article 88 of the law states: “During the annual or sick leave… the worker may not work for another employer. Should the employer establish such action, he shall be entitled to terminate the employment of the worker without notice and to deprive him of his wage for the duration of the leave.”

There are situations where a company can take on a part-time employee when this individual also has a full-time job but specific rules apply. The individual has to apply for a permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The cost for this include an application fee of Dh100 and an approval fee of Dh500. In accordance with Federal Decree Law No 2 of 2007, if an expatriate is caught working for another company without an official permit, then a fine of Dh50,000 will be applied to the hiring company. This situation may be different and MT will need to establish whether the employee was legally working in a part-time capacity, or illegally during annual leave before taking action.

I own an apartment in Dubai and am now planning to buy an investment property in the UK. Someone has suggested that I will have to pay the higher amount of stamp duty as I already own a property. Is this the case, even though I don’t own another property in the UK, and does this apply to me as a non-UK resident? LF, Dubai

Stamp Duty Land Tax is a tax on property purchase payable in the UK, specifically in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There is a similar tax in Scotland called Land and Buildings Transaction Tax. It applies to most properties above a threshold which varies depending on circumstances and there is currently an exemption for first-time buyers, but only if they are UK residents.

The rules regarding stamp duty changed in April 2016 when a higher rate was introduced for the purchase of a second or investment property. Residential property anywhere in the world is counted when determining whether someone is a first-time buyer, or buying their only property. Where there are joint purchasers, all parties would need to be first-time buyers. In this situation, LF would be liable to pay the higher rates of stamp duty, from a lower threshold, as he already owns one property.

I taught in Abu Dhabi in 2016 but left due to the fact that I struggled to teach the pupils and was heading for a nervous breakdown. I broke the terms of my work contract by leaving the job. I now want to travel in transit through Qatar to Munich. Will the fact that I was blacklisted in Abu Dhabi in 2016 cause any problems for me in Doha? I'm very worried about this. VG, Germany

The term blacklisting refers to being given a ban and this can be for a limited period or for a lifetime in the case of a criminal offence. Some bans are related to employment only, while others prevent a person from entering the country. When someone has broken a contract of employment and receives an employment ban, this is for a limited period only. These days it is usually just six months and it simply means they cannot be employed during this period.

If someone has absconded, that is they have left employment without permission or having given notice, they will have a different type of ban. This is covered in Article 128 of UAE Labour Law which states: “Should the non-national worker leave work without a valid cause prior to the end of the contract with definite term, he may not get another employment even with the permission of the employer for a year from the date of abandonment of the work.”

Provided there are no outstanding debts, VG should have no problems in entering the UAE so transiting through another GCC country, or even entering one, should not be an issue and/or any cause for concern.

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: March 12, 2020 11:32 AM

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