Plus questions about end-of-service payments and company health insurance answered by The National's consumer advocate.
On Your Side: Standard Chartered resolves car seller's cheque clearance
I sold my car on May 1 and the buyer paid 20 per cent of the value in cash with the remaining amount to be paid by cheque by his bank, Standard Chartered. On May 3, all the remaining papers were delivered as requested and it was arranged that the cheque for Dh34,000 would be available in less than seven working days. Today, it is the 12th working day and they have not paid me and are unable to confirm when the cheque will be ready. Even though I have made a complaint, no one is telling me anything. Please advise me on how to proceed as I am getting desperate. IS, Dubai
I referred the problem to Standard Chartered, which acted promptly and IS collected her cheque 48 hours later. A spokesperson told me: "Upon receiving the complaint, Standard Chartered's Customer Care Unit contacted the complainant who is the seller of a car from one of the bank's customers. We would like to clarify that the standard turnaround time to issue this type of cheque is 10 to 12 working days and this was initially communicated to IS and the car buyer by our front line staff. (We cannot validate this, as it was a verbal communication). Based on our records, the full documentation was submitted to the bank on May 5 and not on May 3 as indicated in the complaint. The cheque was collected by the complainant on May 23 - which is within our 10 to 12 working days commitment." IS is happy that we were able to resolve the issue.
What is the correct gratuity amount for someone who has worked for one year and two months with a basic salary of Dh28,000, which is stated on the labour contract? IW, Dubai
A person's entitlement to an end of service gratuity depends on whether they were made redundant or left of their own accord, as well as whether they are on a limited or unlimited contract. It also depends on the person's specific contract terms as some employers will pay more than the minimum required under UAE Labour Law. However, according to the law, a person who is made redundant is entitled to 21 days' salary for each year of service, calculated pro-rata for partial years, based on their basic salary. This is for service of less than five full years. If an employee leaves of their own accord, that entitlement reduces by one third. In this particular scenario the person was made redundant, so a simple calculation based on a final salary of Dh28,000 for 14 months' service, not taking into account days of absence without pay, would deliver a gratuity of around Dh22,550. The gratuity should be paid at the same time as the final salary payment.
I have lived in the UAE for 20 years, but before that I lived and worked in England for a few different companies that had pension schemes. I have not heard anything from the companies for many years, but as I am now approaching my 60th birthday I would like to find out what I am entitled to. I have tried searching for the companies but there appear to be no details anywhere so I assume they are no longer trading. Does this mean I have lost my pension with them, or can you tell me how I can go about finding out more information? DP, Sharjah
The Pension Tracing Service - a free service available in the UK - may be able to help. You need to provide them with some basic information and they will try to match this to one of the schemes listed on their database. If they find a match, they will provide the contact address of the scheme and you can get in touch directly. The Pension Tracing Service cannot tell you if you are entitled to any benefits as only the scheme administrator can issue this information. You will need to provide the full name of the relevant employer or related pension scheme, preferably with the last known address and any other relevant details such as whether it was part of a larger scheme or group of companies or if there was any change of name. You should also tell them the type of scheme - such as occupational, final salary, group money purchase or personal - and the dates of your membership and service. The Pension Tracing Service can be contacted by calling +44 191 2154 491, writing to Pension Tracing Service, The Pension Service, Tyneview Park, Whitley Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE98 1BA, UK, or contact them through their website.
I work for a company that has its offices in Abu Dhabi, but for various reasons I have decided to live in Dubai. The HR officer told me that because I live in Dubai I will not be offered the company medical insurance scheme as this only applies to Abu Dhabi residents. Is this correct? PL, Dubai
The law states that anyone on an Abu Dhabi visa must be provided with medical insurance by their employer. Where you choose to live is irrelevant, as it is your visa that dictates residency. You are on an Abu Dhabi visa as that is where your employer has its trade licence. The law also states that medical cover must be provided for the employees' wife and family, including up to three children below the age of 18.
Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org with queries for this column or for advice on any other financial planning matter.