x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Money you are entitled to after the redundancy

Have a problem? Been treated unfairly? Our consumer advocate is on the case for you.

I have recently been made redundant and am now in my notice period. During the five years I was with my employer a major feature of my income was commission and bonuses, which averaged between Dh5,000 and Dh10,000 per month. My soon to be former employer is telling me that my gratuity is calculated on my base salary only, but I have heard otherwise. Which is correct? JC Abu Dhabi I telephoned the Ministry of Labour contact centre (800 665) about this matter, and I am pleased to report that the staff were very helpful indeed. The first adviser that I spoke to stated that if the matter of bonuses was mentioned in the labour contract then they should be taken into consideration when calculating a gratuity. As the matter is complex, he then advised that he would get one of their legal advisers to call me back, which he duly did within the hour. Provided you have confirmation in writing from your employer setting out the terms of the commission payments, for example, a fixed percentage above a certain amount of business obtained and how much you have received regular payments must be taken into consideration when calculating your gratuity.

It may be that your employer is not aware of the full labour law, so I suggest that you start by explaining this to them. If they still do not agree to pay, you should contact the Ministry of Labour, who will assist with conciliation. If that does not work, the matter can be taken to court. Until such time as the matter is resolved to your satisfaction, you should not sign any documents pertaining to the cancellation of your work permit.

am currently employed with a property developer in Dubai. I was hired from overseas almost two years ago, and the benefits in my package, as per the job offer and appointment letter they have issued, are the following: one, annual passage for employee and family "at the completion of every year of service", and two, annual performance bonus depending on company discretion, and employee performance. In early 2009, I tendered my resignation, jumping at an opportunity to work with an Abu Dhabi-based company. I am honouring the terms of my contract and working my three-month notice period. My last working day shall go beyond my anniversary date with the company and my understanding is that I am entitled to the annual passage (which is paid out in cash calculated at IATA rates). I have received feedback from our HR that this may not be the case because I have resigned. Do you believe I am entitled to this benefit under UAE law and in the context of the language of the job offer and appointment letter they have issued before? Also, there is a possibility that the company will give out a bonus based on employee performance. Modesty aside, I have been appraised for 2008 work and have been given a positive assessment. Considering that the bonus is a reward corresponding to 2008 performance, should the company have the discretion not to give such bonus to me because I have resigned?

HJ Dubai Having looked in to these matters at some length, I am advised that you are entitled to the "annual passage", as you have worked the appropriate number of days required. You are still employed and thus are entitled to standard benefits, including all allowances. As you state, the awarding of a monetary performance bonus is purely discretionary, so even if you have received excellent reviews over the year, there is no legal obligation for your employer to pay you a bonus.

I had a baby a few weeks ago and am in the process of sorting out his passport and residency. If we get the passport and we take it to process residency, will we be questioned if the passport does not have an entry-to-UAE stamp? SM Abu Dhabi As long as you have his birth certificate, showing he was born in the UAE, you will not have any problems. I understand that you will also need for this document to be translated into Arabic, which should cost around Dh25. There is no requirement to take him out of the UAE and back in again to process his residency.

Is it possible to buy US travellers cheques in the UAE? I know places will take them, but they don't sell them. DN Abu Dhabi There certainly are more places where you can either use or exchange travellers cheques than you can buy them, but my research shows that there are a numerous places in Abu Dhabi where you can indeed buy US cheques, such as UAE Exchange. Details on branches can be found on their website, www.uaeexchange.com. Go to "contact us", and then you can click on information about branches. They are all across the Emirates, and there is likely one near you.

My sister plans to visit me later this year, but I am concerned that she will be denied a visit visa, as she has previously visited Israel and has an Israeli stamp in her passport. Will it be a problem? MD Abu Dhabi Many people, and online sources, will say that visas (and entry to the UAE) are not permitted for anyone with an Israeli stamp in their passport. However, many visitors have entered the UAE despite having entry stamps from Israel in their passport. The website of the UAE Embassy in the UK (www.uaeembassyuk.net) says: "Israeli stamps endorsement is not a problem for UAE entry." And the US UAE Embassy website (www.uae-embassy.org) says: "All Americans with a valid US passport are welcome to enter the UAE. This includes those with visa or entry stamps from other countries."

Have a problem? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. She can be reached at keren@holbornassets.com