Question: I am in a peculiar situation. I work in a Dubai-based company and am currently on vacation in my home country. Due to some unforeseen circumstances and a genuine emergency, I will not be able to come back to the UAE as my presence is required in my home country to sort some things out. If my boss insists on me serving my notice period, and I obviously cannot, how will that impact me? How can I settle it? How do I claim my end-of-service benefits? And what happens to my visa and that of my wife and two children?
Response: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a private mainland company based in Dubai, and you hold a valid employment visa. Further, it is assumed that your wife and two children's UAE residency visas are sponsored by you. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law') and those of Cabinet Resolution No.1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022') are applicable.
An employee may not resign from his employment, while he or she is on leave, unless mutually agreed with the employer. This is in accordance with Article 35 of the Employment Law, which states: "If either party wants to terminate the contract during the period of leave in accordance with the provisions of this Decree-Law and its Executive Regulations, then the Notice Period agreed upon in the Employment Contract shall commence only on the day following the date on which the employee returns from leave, unless agreed otherwise by the parties."
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, it is recommended that you travel to the UAE and then resign by serving the stipulated notice period. However, if your employer agrees to accept your resignation while you are on leave and outside the country, then you may request that your work permit be cancelled.
The end-of-service benefits are usually transferred to local bank accounts of employees in the UAE. If required, you may request your employer to transfer the benefits to your home country bank account. Further, if your employer insists you join the employment upon completion of your leave and resign, then you must travel to the UAE to do the same.
In the event you do not comply, your employer may file an absconding case on you, and you may face an employment ban. This is in accordance with Article 50 of the Employment Law, which states:
1. A foreign employee who is absent from work, for illegal cause, before the expiration of the employment contract, shall not be granted another work permit to join another employer in the UAE, pursuant to provisions hereof, for a term of (1) one year from the date of absence from work, and no Employer who is aware of such absence may employ him or keep him in his service within such period.
2. The Ministry may exempt certain job categories, skill levels, or manpower from paragraph (1) above, in accordance with the controls and procedures set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law.
3. The Employer shall report to the Ministry the absence from work according to the procedures set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree-Law."
Article 28 (1) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 states that in the event an employee is absent from work without informing the employer for a continuous period of seven days, he/she may possibly get one year of employment ban. This may further lead to the employee facing immigration ban as well.
Further, the sponsor may have to be in the UAE to cancel his dependent's UAE residency visas. Therefore, to avoid legal hurdles, you may report to work upon completion of your approved leave. Thereafter, you may resign from your employment and cancel your dependents' UAE residency visas. Once the said process is completed, you may request your employer to pay your final settlement benefits, cancel your work permit and finally cancel your UAE residency visa.
However, if you are unable to travel back to UAE, you may request your employer to pay your end of service benefits and cancel your work permit. Thereafter, you contact the General Directorate of Residency & Foreigners Affairs- Dubai (the 'GDRFA') requesting to cancel your wife and children's UAE residence visas without your presence in the UAE citing a genuine reason supported by documentary evidence. If the GDRFA approves your request, you may cancel your wife and children's UAE residency visas and thereafter you may request your employer to cancel your UAE residency visa. You may contact the GDRFA for further advice on this matter.
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