x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

On Your Side: Pay slip change may be attempt to lower basic salary

An employer cannot simply split the salary on a pay slip at a later date to suit themselves.

I have been employed by a semi-government organisation for the past six-and-a-half years. When our salary is deposited in our bank account, we receive a pay slip. Until last month, this pay slip gave our monthly salary as a lump sum. But now, it shows a basic salary, which is identical to the salary I received when I joined the organisation in August 2005, plus a supplemental salary, which is the amount of increases (merit, cost of living and promotion) that I have received since then. This totals about 37 per cent of the basic salary. The change seems to have happened to all other employees as well. We are concerned that this has been done so the organisation can pay out an end-of-service gratuity that is based only on the basic salary and not the supplemental salary. Is that legal under the UAE's Labour Law? WR, Abu Dhabi

The end-of-service gratuity is based on a person's basic salary, although there was recently a case in the Dubai courts in which an employee received a payment based on all parts of his salary. This, however, is a one-off and is not a legal precedent in the UAE. However, it perhaps shows how the courts might look at certain cases. In this particular case, the entitlement is based on what contracts and subsequent salary increase letters document as basic salary, or as an allowance. If the initial employment contracts simply show a basic salary and any subsequent increases are documented in this way, and not split as salary and allowances, then the total earnings should be treated as basic salary. Unless there has been written agreement, issued by the employer and signed by the employee, to change the basis of earnings, an employer cannot simply split the salary at a later date to suit themselves. The matter should be raised with the company and if they do not comply, a case can be raised with the Ministry of Labour.

 

I have a residency visa through my employer and am now planning to move my wife and children over to Dubai. Because we are a small company, I have to do this myself and am about to get some documents attested. Can you tell me if I need to do this with my wife's birth certificate? DB, Dubai

You do not need to get your wife's birth certificate attested to obtain a visa for her. You simply need to get your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of your children verified.

 

I have experienced considerable problems with random charges being deducted from my Barclays Premier account following online transfers to UAE accounts with other banks. In one case, the deduction took place seven months after an associated transfer was executed online. Barclays insists the charges are transfer fees applied by the receiving bank, despite the fact that in all cases both sending and receiving accounts are dirham-denominated accounts at UAE banks and the charge is deducted some period of time after the transfer. I have been informed by the receiving bank that no charges should be applied and the charges do not originate from it. The charges are equivalent to international transfer fees, which is clearly an error. Despite four months of persistent enquiries, Barclays does not appear to be interested in resolving what appears to be a system error, nor do I have any assurance that similar deductions will not be applied to my account in future for transactions that have already taken place some months in the past. I have tried to deal with my account manager but have been stonewalled and my original complaint has been closed. Can you help me resolve this? HI, Dubai

I referred the matter to senior staff at Barclays and they investigated the matter. A spokesman for the bank said: "Regarding the complaint, please allow me to emphasise that Barclays does not charge any fees on dirham-to-dirham transfers within the UAE. In this particular case, the client remitted money to another bank and selected the option of 'Remitter will bear all the charges'. While we do not charge for such remittances, the counter bank does. The charges from the counter bank were passed on to our client automatically when the counter bank billed Barclays. Since receiving your e-mail, Barclays has been in touch with the client to explain online procedures for remittances and as a gesture of goodwill, Barclays has refunded the charges to the client."

 

I am employed as a manager at my company and am thinking of resigning, but have some questions. Would I be responsible for collecting any due payment from customers for the sales that my team made? Will I be responsible for the stock the company is holding? I was placing the order, but the final signing authority is the owner. And for my gratuity, how many days should be considered in a year if my contract is for six days a week? MS, Dubai

If you resign from a company and leave, you should not be liable for any payments outstanding from customers of the company. These are customers of the company, not of the individual. The only possible exception could be if there was a clause to this effect in your contract, signed by both parties, but even then I do not think it could be enforced by law. Again, there is no reason why a departing employee should be responsible for stock, particularly if the purchase order is signed off by a more senior member of staff. Regarding end-of-service gratuity, if someone works six days a week, then the gratuity should be calculated based on their contractual working hours. So the calculation is 1/312 of annual salary. Bear in mind that if someone leaves service of their own accord, having worked for the company for less than five years, the end of service gratuity will be reduced.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com or onyourside@thenational.ae