1. Is notice period mandatory in all employment contracts?
For all employment contracts, notice period mentioned in the contract is mandatory as it has been agreed between the employer and employee. When an employee resigns he is obliged to serve the notice or pay a compensatory amount, unless he or she has a written statement from the employer waiving the notice period for whatever reason.
2. How long should the notice period be?
UAE Labour Law stipulates a minimum notice period of 30 days (Article 117). The parties can agree on a longer notice period but can never reduce it to less than 30 days. Therefore, if both parties agreed to serve a notice of two months, they will have to, unless it is waived by the other party.
3. What happens if one of the parties does not serve the notice period?
If the employee terminates the contract without serving previously agreed upon notice or agreeing to a cut in the end of service dues corresponding to the notice period, he/she can be banned from working in the UAE for a period of up to one year. The employer can do this by filing a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. The complaint can be appealed by the employee if he believes the charges to be unfair or false, which is then investigated by a competent court.
The aforementioned is also valid if the employer terminates the contract without serving notice to the employee or payment in lieu of said notice period.
4. Limited contracts and notice periods
If the employee is working on a limited contract, he/she cannot terminate the contract with or without notice before the end of the contract term. If the employee prematurely terminates the contract, he or she can be banned from working for up to one year as per the employer's complaint.
5. Can an employee ever leave without notice?
There are some situations where it is permissible for an employee to terminate without notice and face no legal repercussions. Article 121 of the UAE Labour Law states two situations: if the employer has failed to honour his obligations towards him as provided in the contract or in the law or if he was assaulted by the employer or his legal representative.
6. When does the notice period start?
Notice period starts on the day resignation is submitted, or as an email, delivered. An employee’s resignation comes into effect from the date that it is submitted to the employer. The consent of the employer is not required. Resignation by email is also acceptable by law as long as delivery of email can be proven.
7. Can an employee be forced to work beyond the notice period?
No, an employee is only required to serve his or her agreed-upon notice period according to his or her specific contract. If the employee is asked to stay on a job even after the legally required notice period, until her/his replacement appointment is made, that is considered illegal on the company's side. The employer cannot withhold the employee from terminating the contract, and have to pay or return all dues as is legally necessary.
Please contact the Employment Department at James Berry & Associates (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss matters connected to notice period in the employment contract and how we can review your current contract(s) and help to ensure they sufficiently protect you in accordance with the UAE Law.
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