I’M BE­ING FORCED TO GO ON LEAVE

Friday - - Advice -

Q

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?

A

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

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