: Can you explain the changes made to the UAE employment law when it comes to resigning during the probation period? Am I entitled to salary and other benefits for the days I serve under the notice period? Also, what’s the maximum period I can stay in the country after my visa is cancelled? Does the company have to pay me the airfare to my home country if I resign during the probation period?
: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a private company based in the mainland of UAE. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 On the Regulation of Employment Relations (the ‘Employment Law’) are applicable.
In the UAE, an employee may resign from his or her employment during probation by serving (1) one month of notice period to the current employer if he or she intends to join the new employer. In this case, the new employer needs to compensate the current employer with recruitment costs. This is in accordance with Article 9 (3) of the Employment Law, which states, "An employee who wants to move on to another employer in the UAE during the probationary period shall notify his current employer in writing at least (1) one month before the date on which he intends to terminate the contract, and unless agreed otherwise the new employer shall compensate the first employer for recruitment or contract costs."
Further, an employee who intends to resign during the probation period and wishes to travel outside the UAE, then such employee needs to serve (14) fourteen days of notice to the employer.
However, if such an employee travels back to UAE to work for another employer within three months of the date of departure from the UAE, then the new employer needs to compensate the previous employer of the employee with recruitment costs. This is in accordance with Article 9(4) of the Employment Law, which states, “A foreign employee wishing to terminate the employment contract during the probationary period in order to leave the UAE shall notify his employer in writing at least (14) fourteen days prior to date determined for termination of the contract. If the employee wants to return to the UAE and obtains a new work permit within (3) three months from the date of his departure, the new employer shall pay the compensation stipulated in paragraph (3) above, unless agreed otherwise by the employee with the original employer."
Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, you may decide on the mode of resignation based on your future career plans in the UAE or outside the UAE. Once you serve the notice period your employer should pay your salary till the last working day – ie. the last day of the notice period. This is in accordance with Article 43(2) of the Employment Law. In continuance, you may be eligible for leave salary related to annual leave which is not availed by you during the term of employment with your employer. This is in accordance with Article 29(3) of the Employment Law. Further, your employer may not be obligated to bear your airfare to travel to your home country, as the termination of the employment contract is due to your resignation. This is in accordance with Article 13(12) of the Employment Law, which states "The Employer shall bear the cost of the employee's repatriation to his point of hire or to any other point that was mutually agreed upon unless the employee joins another employer, or the employment contract is terminated for reasons due to the employee; in which case the costs shall be borne by the latter."
Further, in the UAE once a residency visa is cancelled, an individual may reside in the country for a grace period of 30 days, commencing from the date of cancellation. During this period, you should either leave the country or change your status of stay. If you find new employment during the grace period, you may request your new employer to apply for a work permit and change your residency status before the grace period expired.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India.
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