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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

UAE legal Q&As: what am I owed at the end of employment?

A reader asks what their end of service should be and another asks if a company can withhold payment of salary if a swipe card is not used to sign into work

Under the UAE Labour Law, what are employers required to provide at the end of a contract when an employee resigns (ie flights home, gratuities etc)?

As per article no 137 of the labour law, an employee that ends their employment through resignation shall be entitled to one third of the end of service gratuity if their service did not exceed three years.

If their service did not exceed five years, then the gratuity shall be two thirds and if their service exceeded five years, they will be granted full gratuity.

At any rate the employer is absolutely obliged to grant the employee a plane ticket to return to their home country on the termination of the employment regardless of the manner of the termination as per article no 131 of the labour law.

However, if there was an internal agreement between the employee and the employer in which the employer may have further rights such as family ticket then the employer must perform his contractual obligations.

My wife is a teacher at a school that logs working hours with swipe cards that staff use when entering and exiting campus. She accidentally left her swipe card at home for two days but still worked both days. Despite CCTV footage showing her enter the school in the morning and leave at the end of the day, the school is refusing to pay her for both days. Is this legal?

Depriving an employee from their salary without reason is absolutely illegal and the employee is entitled to be payed the deducted salary despite not following school procedures by signing in with the swipe card. The employer has the right to notify or warn the employee against this misconduct but cannot deprive her of her legally owed money.

To claim the money back, your wife must file a labour claim at the labour department (even during her employment at the school). The labour department mediates between the employee and the employer to reach a settlement.

In case no settlement is reached, then the department grants the employee permission to claim the deducted amounts through the labour court instead.

If you have a question for our lawyer, please email it to newsdesk@thenational.ae with the subject line 'Know the law'.