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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

My foot was injured in a work accident. What are my rights? 

The Abu Dhabi employee may lose a toe and needs to take several weeks off work

Keren Bobker issues some advice on a UAE resident grappling with a workplace injury and knowing their rights. Wam
Keren Bobker issues some advice on a UAE resident grappling with a workplace injury and knowing their rights. Wam

A few days ago I had an accident at work and my hurt my foot badly. It looks like I may lose a toe. I can’t walk so can’t do my job as I have to walk on uneven surfaces as well as go up lots of stairs. This means I will be off work for a number of weeks. I am meeting my boss and the company HR person soon but I want to know what my rights are as I concerned that they are not going to be very supportive and our medical insurance seems limited. DG, Abu Dhabi

Any treatment required if sustained in a workplace should be covered by medical insurance but if not, the employer is liable for all expenses. As per Article 144 of UAE Labour Law: "In cases of occupational injuries or diseases, the employer shall undertake to pay the cost of the treatment of the worker in a governmental or private local medical centre until his recovery … " The employer is also liable to cover the cost of any transportation required for related medical treatment. If the company has an employee handbook, it should state official company policy, albeit all companies need to comply with the minimum requirements of UAE Labour Law in this regard.

A whole section of the law is dedicated to this topic and there are a number of main points to note. Article 142 states: "should the worker contract any of the occupational injuries or diseases (per the government schedules), the employer or the representative thereof shall notify the incident immediately to the police and to the Labour Department or a branch thereof within whose jurisdiction the workplace is located." The police will investigate, interview all parties and try and establish cause and any blame.

In respect of being able to go to work, Article 145 says: "should the injury prevent the worker from performing his work, the employer shall pay him an allowance that is equal to a full wage for the entire period of treatment, or for a period of six months, whichever is shorter. Should the duration last for more than six months, the allowance shall be reduced by half and such for the following six months or until the worker fully recovers, is declared disabled, or dies, whichever occurs first." If the employee is deemed to have a permanent disability, or loses a limb or a finger or toe, compensation can be awarded in accordance with the state government guidance this matter, on a sliding scale of severity. Payment in respect of the loss of a toe will not be high as it is deemed a 5 per cent disability.

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What are an employee’s rights with regards to the termination of a limited contract. I have worked for a company in Dubai for almost 10 years and they recently made some staff redundant. My contract was renewed in April. Am I entitled to gratuity, holiday pay and a ticket home? The company says it will not pay us for three months and I want to show them the law. MG, Dubai

If an employee is on a limited contract and the contract is terminated by the employer before the end date then Article 115 of UAE Labour Law applies: "Should the employment contract be of a determined term, and the employer rescind same for reasons not set forth in Article 120, he shall be bound to compensate the worker for the damage incurred thereto, provided that the compensation amount does not exceed in any case the total wage due for the period of three months or for the remaining period of the contract, whichever is shorter, unless otherwise stipulated in the contract." This confirms that MG is entitled to compensation equivalent to three months’ basic salary.

In addition, any days of annual leave accrued but not taken, calculated to the end of the notice period, should be payable in full with the final salary payment. The end of service gratuity is payable in full, without any deductions, in accordance with Article 132, ‘the worker having spent one year or more in continuous service shall be entitled to an end of service gratuity upon the termination of his service. The days of absence from work without pay shall not be included in the calculation of the period of service, and the gratuity shall be calculated as follows: 1. The wage of 21 days for each of the first five years of service. 2. The wage of 30 days for every additional year. Always provided that the total gratuity does not exceed the wage of two years.’ As the employer has terminated employment they are also obliged to pay for the cost of a ticket to the country of origin if MG chooses to leave the UAE.

If the employer refuses to provide all the benefits to which MG is legally entitled, she should register a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, helpline number 800665, website http://www.mohre.gov.ae/.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 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.