x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Paid on commission? You get final gratuity

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

Please provide advice on how my end-of-service gratuity will be calculated. I have been working for a company in Dubai for eight years, initially under a limited contract for three years, which has since been allowed to continue by verbal agreement. The basic salary on my employment contract is Dh10,000 per month. But the actual wage paid to me is based only on commission, and has ranged anywhere from Dh15,000 to Dh35,000 per month. I understand that the end-of-service gratuity is based on the last monthly wage received (and not on the salary written on the employment contract). However, my monthly wage varies markedly from month to month because it is based only on commission. So in my case, will my gratuity still be based on the last monthly wage received? Or will it be based on my average monthly wage over the last year, or average monthly wage over the eight-year period of my employment? I am concerned that if it is based on the last monthly wage received, as soon as I hand in my notice my employer will transfer my clients to other employees so that I will not receive any commission at all for my final month - and therefore no wage for my final month and no gratuity! Also, please advise on the notice period I need to give my employer on resignation.

JS Dubai This is an issue that I have previously discussed with the Ministry of Labour. They have confirmed that if you have written confirmation from your employer setting out the terms of the commission payments - for example, a fixed percentage of any sales above a certain amount - and you have received regular payments, then these payments must be taken into consideration when calculating your gratuity.

Usually, this will form part of your contract of employment. While the basic salary used for the gratuity payment is based on the final month's income, when commissions and bonuses are regular payments these should be averaged over a period of up to one year. 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, perhaps by showing them this column.

Either they, or you, can call the Ministry of Labour to clarify the issue so that the correct amount is paid to you. The notice period depends on what is written in your contract, but in most cases it is a period of one month. 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. I do hope you can help with an ongoing problem I am having with Etisalat. On April 10, I applied to be connected to the internet at the Abu Dhabi Mall outlet. Then, on April 15, I was told it would be installed on the 17th, so I should go back to the Abu Dhabi Mall to pick up my internet card. No one turned up on April 17, so I called Etisalat the following day to ask why. I was told that "hopefully" installation would take place in the next two days. I then received a call guaranteeing that the technicians would come between 8am and 11am on April 20. The technicians arrived at 11.20am. After two hours, they said they'd have to come back the next day, which they duly did and the internet was working when they left. By April 24, I had a problem and there was no DSL signal on the router, so I called Etisalat and they said someone would come out within two days. No one came, so I called them on April 26 and they seemed surprised that no one had shown up. They sent a person out fairly quickly, who seemed to get things working, but by the evening it was all down again. Naturally, I called Etisalat again and they said that they'd treat it "as an emergency". But I heard nothing the next day, so I chased them and was again told that someone would be there in two days. In the interim, the DSL signal would occasionally work for 20 minutes, then fail. For the next five days, I spoke to Etisalat daily and was usually told that someone would be coming out shortly. When I asked to speak to a supervisor, I was told they were all in a meeting and was asked to call back. When I did, none were available and I was told someone would call me, but they never did. In subsequent calls, Etisalat claimed to have tried to contact me, but I had no missed calls. By this point, two weeks had passed since the installation and I had working internet for less than three days over this period. Etisalat has broken numerous promises and generally failed as a service provider. I am really at my wit's end and am beginning to wonder if this problem will ever be solved.

BB Abu Dhabi This problem was referred to Etisalat's PR department and after three weeks, they replied as follows: "Kindly be informed that since receiving your message we have worked to ensure that each of his complaints has been resolved since May 5, 2010, and we are now confident that we have achieved this to a satisfactory level. "This includes ensuring the customer's internet connection is fully operational and that his account details and billing records reflect his actual usage."

BB has confirmed that the situation was sorted by May 4 and his internet has been working fine ever since. His internet charges for a complete month from the initial connection have been waived. Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai. Write to her at keren@holbornassets.com Letters can also be sent to onyourside@thenational.ae