I’M BEING FORCED TO GO ON LEAVE
Iwork as a senior engineer in Abu Dhabi. My employer gavemea termination letter saying that he does not have work for me now or over the next fewmonths. The letter states I should take the remainder ofmy annual leave – 14days – immediately but I would rather have the cash. Our company personal instruction guidebook mentions that in the event of termination of the contract, the employee is entitled to compensation of unconsumed leave in cash. Is that possible?
You have not recited any relevant provision in your employment contract, and I proceed on the basis that the terms of your contract are not inconsistent with the information fromyour employer’s internal PI. I also proceed on the basis that you have been given a notice period, during which the employer has stated that you must take your outstanding annual leave.
Article 76 of the UAE Labour Law (No. 8 of 1980), which you tell me your employer is quoting at you, states: ‘The employer may at his discretion determine the date for commencement of annual leaves and when necessary...’
This should be read in conjunction with Article 75, which provides: ‘The employee must be granted an annual leave during each year of service... In the event of termination of an employee’s service he shall be entitled to an annual leave for the fractions of the last year of service.’
Your employer’s PI allows you to convert annual leave into pay.
While an employer in circumstances such as the one you’re in might ordinarily be entitled to rely on Article 76 and require an employee to take accrued leave, in your case, the terms of the PI qualifies and ‘trumps’ the UAE Labour Law in that an employer would not be permitted to use the discretion allowed him under Article 76 in a manner in conflict with the contract of employment and/or the PI.
STEPHEN FIELD is a legal consultant at Sanad International Law Group (www.silg.ae) in Dubai and a practising barrister in London