x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

On Your Side: Resignation need not lead to an employment ban

It is possible for a limited contract to be extended by a year at a time by mutual agreement.

I have been working for my current company, which is in a free zone, for 18 months. However, I have been offered a position with another company that I am interested in. I would like to know if I would receive a ban if I resigned; I cannot afford for this to happen. The new company is not in a free zone. NB, Dubai

If you leave a job within two years, you can receive a six-month ban. But you can apply to have it lifted if you fall into one of the following categories: minimum qualification held is a high-school diploma and minimum salary in the new job is Dh5,000, Dh7,000 for diploma holders, and Dh12,000 for bachelor-degree holders. In addition, if your current employer gives you a No Objection Letter it can also be lifted, but it looks as if you will be fine either way because you have a bachelor's degree. You should also be aware that your end-of-service gratuity will be reduced to just one third of the standard amount because you would be leaving your job of your own accord.

I have been with my current employer for nearly five years and was employed on a three-year fixed contract that was renewed by mutual consent. It looks as if I will be made redundant before the end of the year, but my employer is saying that my contract only has a few months to run. However, if I was on a three-year contract and it was renewed on the same terms, then it must also be for three years. I think my company is trying to short change me because it has said that if it has to let me go, I will be paid to the end of November, the anniversary of my employment only. I think my company is breaking the three-year contract early. Can you clarify this in regards to both the contract and what I am owed should I have to leave? GG, Dubai

Unless you formally agreed to be employed for a further three-year period, and signed a contract to that effect, it is possible for a limited contract to be extended by a year at a time by mutual agreement. From the documentation I have seen, this appears to be the case in your situation because you did not sign a new contract on a three-year basis and just received a letter confirming renewal. If you are made redundant and are on a limited contract, then Article 116 of the UAE Labour Law will apply. It says: "If the employer has terminated an employment contract with a limited period, for reasons other than those provided for under Article 120 [essentially dismissal because of misconduct], he becomes liable for payment of compensation to the employee against damages sustained by him, provided that the sum of compensation in all events may not exceed the total pay due to him for a period of three months or for the remaining period of contract, whichever is shorter, unless the terms of the contract provide otherwise." In this situation, if you are asked to leave at the end of November, no salary or compensation payments are due to you because it will be considered to be the end of your contract. You will be entitled to the full end-of-service gratuity payment.

I am changing jobs from a company in Dubai to one in Abu Dhabi, but have been asked by my new employer to provide them with a police certificate before they can apply for my new visa. This is for their own purposes, but apparently also for immigration. I have never had anything to do with the police in Dubai, so I have no idea if they even have any records about me. This concerns me slightly. What do I have to do and should I be worried in any way? GE, Dubai

These checks are often required in respect of certain jobs because it is essentially a good-conduct certificate and confirms that you are not wanted for any investigation and do not have a criminal record. It is formally known as a Police Clearance Certificate and is obtained quite easily. You can do this at major police stations, where you can fill out the form. You can also apply for it online, although you will have to collect it in person. Go to the Dubai Police website (www.dubaipolice.gov.ae) and click on the link marked, somewhat misleadingly, "Criminal Record Verification". Once an application has been completed online, you will receive an SMS confirming it has been requested and asking you to go to a police station to make the payment. You will be asked for proof of identity, so will require your Emirates ID card. If you do not yet have one, your passport as well as a copy of your residency visa is required. The cost is Dh110. Two passport-sized photographs are also required and you will probably be asked to provide fingerprints if you do not have an Emirates ID card. It usually takes two to three days to process the certificate and you should receive another SMS advising you that it is ready for collection. Certificates are valid for three months and are only available to someone who has been resident in the UAE for at least six months. Generally, certificates will be issued in English. But if you require one in Arabic, you must request this from the outset. In this case, the fee is reduced to Dh50.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Contact her at onyourside@thenational.ae