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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

'Should a part-time employee receive half the annual leave allowance?'

The Dubai employee only receives 11 days a year compared to her full-time colleagues

The employee works four hours a day in her part-time role and says 11 days of holiday a year is 'not workable'. Photo: Getty Images
The employee works four hours a day in her part-time role and says 11 days of holiday a year is 'not workable'. Photo: Getty Images

I work part-time for a company, but as I know the owner there is little in writing about my role. I have only been there a few weeks and want to plan some time off later in the year for a family event. I have now been told I only get half the annual leave of full-time employees. I work five days a week but only from 9am to 1pm. I understand that my hours are half those worked by the other staff but only having 11 days off each year is not workable. Is this legal? TM, Dubai

The employer is not correct in this case. Even if an employee only works four hours a day, a day off should be for the full day, so the actual hours worked and the rest of the day - a full 24-hour period - just as it would be for a full-time employee.

There is no specific provision for part-time employment in UAE Labour Law, so the standard rules apply. Article 75 states: “The worker shall be entitled during every year of service an annual leave of no less than the following periods: a) Two days for each month should the period of service of the worker be of six months at least, and a year at most. b) Thirty days for each year should the period of service of the worker exceed one year. Should the service of the worker be terminated, the worker shall be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the last year.” In addition, TM is entitled to the standard employee benefits such as medical insurance, paid sick leave after any probationary period, maternity leave, and the end of service gratuity on the same basis as a full-time employee.

I suggest TM clears up this situation with her employer and then ensures she has a proper contract of employment with all terms in writing to avoid future issues.

I am in the process of setting up three new businesses, which will be linked, so can I operate all of them from one bank account? The minimum balance I have been quoted for a business account makes it complicated from a cashflow point of view, as it needs so much to sit in each of the three bank accounts. Can three businesses operate from one bank account? Is there a problem doing that from a VAT perspective? KG, Ras al Khaimah

This could be an issue for accounting and reporting to the Federal Tax Authority. For clarity, I sought confirmation from qualified accountant Lisa Martin, The National's VAT columnist and owner of The Counting House. She advised: “The main issue is that businesses are legally required to have a bank account in the same name as the trade licence. You don't typically get caught until you apply for VAT registration where it’s now mandatory to include your bank details as part of the registration process. When registrations started 12 months ago this wasn't a mandatory requirement.”

This means that although this may work at outset, there would be a problem registering the businesses for VAT unless there are separate bank accounts for each trade licence. Ms Martin added: “I advise having one trade licence covering all the businesses and then use trade names or divisions of the main company. She could then legally use one bank account and this would keep her accounting and compliance costs down too.” Transactions and accounts can be logged and reported separately, but this could then work with one bank account, freeing up cashflow as there is just one minimum balance to maintain.

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I work for a Fujairah free zone company. I resigned about a month ago and have served the full notice period of 30 days. My company has initiated the cancellation process but the owner is still asking for some documents, which I have already handed over. Do I have to give them my passport for this? Can my employer ask me to carry on working until my visa is cancelled - even after the completion of the notice period? SM, Fujairah

Once an employee has completed his full notice period, employment should be complete and the employer must cancel the visa. This is the responsibility of the employer and there is no longer any requirement to hand in a passport as visas can be cancelled remotely. Some employers and free zones may ask for the passport as they prefer to stamp a visa as cancelled. The identity card should also be surrendered.

In this case, there is no need for SM to undertake any work after the end of the notice period and the employer needs to action the cancellation without delay. If there is an excessive delay, he should escalate this to the free zone itself as they are the body that issued the visa and will finalise the cancellation.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 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

Updated: January 26, 2019 12:17 PM

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