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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

Redundancy and firing only differ on an employee’s CV

I have been let go from my firm and initially they verbally informed me it was due to unsatisfactory work, but in the termination letter they have stated redundancy. I was told this was better for me. Can you list the benefits of redundancy in the UAE?

I have been let go from my firm and initially they verbally informed me it was due to unsatisfactory work, but in the termination letter they have stated redundancy. I was told this was better for me. Can you list the benefits of redundancy in the UAE? BK, Abu Dhabi

Someone being let go, terminated or made redundant is essentially the same thing but the wording can make a little difference. The stigma of being made redundant has long gone in today’s volatile world. From the point of a view of future job applications, it is better if a CV states redundancy, as most people will assume this is for economic reasons rather than being let go for unsatisfactory performance.

From a legal standpoint in the UAE, the benefits are the same for an individual no matter the reason for losing a job.

The end of service gratuity is only reduced if someone leaves work of their own accord during the first five years of service. A ban is only applicable when someone leaves employment of their own voli­tion. No matter the reason for being made redundant, the employer is still responsible for the cost of a flight if a person is returning to their home country.

I work as technical engineer in a company in the UAE and have now completed four months. Recently I got a good offer from another company that I want to take without waiting. Will I get a ban if I change my job now? VC, Sharjah

Whether VC will receive a ban will depend on his exact circumstances and various factors, including the type of contract and his designated skill level. For individuals with jobs designated as skill levels one to three, there will be no ban upon resigning from a job with an unlimited contract at any time provided the proper notice is given and worked. Employees in categories four and five, primarily unskilled workers without qualifications, will receive a ban for resigning having completed less than six months’ service. Even for the higher skill levels it is essential that the proper notice is provided to an employer, even if a person is in a probationary period. This will generally be a minimum of 30 days as per Article 117 of UAE Labour Law, or as specified in the contract of employment, as agreed by both parties, if longer.

If, however, VC is on a fixed-term contract and wishes to break the terms within one year he is likely to receive an employment ban. This can often be lifted if the employer is willing to issue an NOC, a letter of no objection, but the first employer is not obliged to do so.

No matter the type of contract, failing to give the appropriate notice, in writing, can lead to an employment ban of six months and in many cases this means an individual must leave the UAE. The only main exceptions to a ban are individuals working for private companies in the oil industry or someone moving to another job in the same free zone.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 20 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.

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