UAE Labour Law: When can employees leave a job without notice?

Working in the UAE involves following a set of rules to ensure that the employer and employees’ rights are protected. For this reason, both parties must know everything about the legislation that governs employment, which is the UAE Labour Law.

In this regard, the HR team of the company must also be well informed about the law to ensure everything goes smoothly. But sometimes it is not easy to keep up with all the changes and regulations established. In fact, there is a new UAE Labour Law that has come into effect, which was announced on February 2, 2022. This new law replaced the current legislation and its amendments.

As you can see, it is highly important to check the law that regulates employment relationships. It is worth noting that there is a subject that tends to confuse both employers and employees, and that is the resignation and notice period.

In this article, you are going to learn more about how an employee can resign legally, and in which instances they can leave a job without notice. Moreover, you are going to gain more understanding of the new UAE Labour Law and its provisions on this matter. Let us observe the following:

  1. What is the UAE Labour Law?
  2. What is the notice period?
  3. How can employees resign legally in the UAE?
  4. What is the labour ban?
  5. What are the instances when employees can resign without notice?
  6. How can Connect Resources help you understand the UAE Labour Law?

1. What is the UAE Labour Law?

The UAE Labour Law governs employment matters in the country, and in it are included several regulations. Some of the matters that this law covers are the following:

  • Prohibition of employee discrimination and forced labour
  • Employer’s obligations
  • Protection for employees
  • Regulation of the employer-employee relation
  • Employment models: full-time, part-time, etc.
  • Employment matters: working hours, leaves, overtime, holidays, gratuity payments, minimum wage, termination of employment, and more

In the UAE, the Labour Law that was used by employers was the Federal Law No. 8 of 1990. It was replaced by the new Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021. This new UAE Labour Law has become effective on February 2, 2022, and it introduces new aspects that the previous one didn’t establish.

This new regulation has introduced details about the rights of the employee and employer when it comes to leaving the job, as well as when the employer terminates the contract.

1.1 What is the scope of the UAE Labour Law?

When it comes to learning about the regulations of the UAE Labour Law, it is normal to wonder who needs to follow the provisions outlined in it. In this regard, this law applies to employees working in the UAE.

Many may wonder if expatriates must adhere to it, and the answer is yes. Both UAE Nationals and foreign employees are governed by this law. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that it does not apply to employees of the federal government and local government entities, armed forces, and domestic servants.

1.2 Who is responsible for maintaining labour rights in the UAE?

Once we know what the Labour Law is, it is important to understand which body is in charge of ensuring it is followed correctly by employers and employees.

In this regard, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) makes sure that the private sector follows the UAE Labour Law. This is why employers must submit information and paperwork to this entity to ensure they are working according to the law.

Employees and employers can contact MoHRE for learning more about their rights and obligations. It is important to adhere to the law when it comes to employment matters. Otherwise, you may face sanctions as an employee, and as an employer, you can detriment your business.

2. What is the notice period?

When it comes to resigning the job, the UAE Labour Law establishes some regulations that the employees must follow. In the new regulation, article 43 of said law establishes the notice period.

This article is titled “Notice of Termination of Employment Contract” and it stipulates the following:

  • The employee needs to serve a notice period of 30 to 90 days if he or she decides to terminate the work contract.
  • The notice period can be waived off if both parties have agreed to do so

For this reason, it is highly important to understand in which cases the employee needs to serve the notice period, and in which cases he or she can leave without doing it.

Nevertheless, in the UAE not everybody knows how to follow the law. Therefore, first, it is important to know when the employee can resign legally.

2.1 What is the minimum notice period required in the UAE?

In the case of employees leaving a job, the minimum notice period should be of 30 days. Thus, if you are planning to leave your current position, you must plan ahead. Make sure to notify your employer in advance so you can serve your notice period and you can switch to your next job.

However, it is important to note that you can review your official contract to check if it has any specifications regarding the duration of the notice period. Moreover, you can reach an agreement with your employer to waive it off. So, it all depends on your particular case.

3. How can employees resign legally in the UAE?

Employees that are currently working in the UAE must have signed an employment contract. This is established in the law. Each employment contract may have its own specific provisions regarding specific details such as salary, vacations, and more, but all of them must follow what is established by the Labour Law.

In this regard, if the employee plans to resign, he or she must know that it is essential to abide by the legal stipulations of said law. This is to ensure that they are following the process legally.

Nevertheless, this matter can be a cause of uncertainty, since it is difficult to know everything the law establishes about it.

Thus, if you are an employee that is planning to resign, you must consider the following:

  1. Learn everything you can about the Labour Law and your contract. Review if there are any clauses about the termination of the employment relation.
  2. Check the terms and conditions of your contract thoroughly. This is important because you can leave without notice if it is specified in your contract.
  3. Do not leave your job unexpectedly or secretly without informing your employer. Otherwise, you may be deemed an absconder
  4. Prepare your formal resignation letter and make sure your intentions are clear. Provide specific dates for when you need to leave the job. This is important because this way you ensure there is no miscommunication
  5. Serve the notice period, unless you reach an agreement with your employer to waive it off. Make sure to clarify the duration of the notice period so you do not leave before or after.

Among all, you need to maintain your professionalism. Show you are a good employee by abiding by the law and following the legal process to leave your job.

There are some cases in which an employee may leave the job without serving the notice period, or leaving suddenly, and this should not be your case. If you fail to comply with the legal procedures, you may face a labour ban.

4. What is the labour ban?

Foreign employees in the UAE must have a valid employment visa. This document allows them to work and stay legally in the country for a specific period. As it is well known, the employer is the employee’s sponsor of the visa.

Hence, if the employee fails to follow the regulations to leave a job legally, he or she may face a labour ban.

The labour ban is a disciplinary measure that is imposed on employees that breach the provisions of the Labour Law or the terms of their employment contract. It restricts the employee to look for a job in another company in the UAE.

This labour law is automatic and it can have a duration of six months or one year. It all depends on the case. Thus, if the employee has received a labour ban, he or she may not work in the UAE for that specific period.

5. What are the instances when employees can resign without notice?

Once we know all the background about the labour law, labour ban, and how to leave a job legally, it is important to know when you can leave without serving a notice period.

First, if you do not want to get a labour ban but your employment contract has not ended, you must have a lawful reason to resign.

In the Article 45 of the new UAE Labour Law, we find the details about how to resign without a notice period:

5.1 Employer’s failure to meet contractual obligations

The employer must comply with the legal and contractual obligations established by the law. If the employer fails to do this towards the worker, then the employee must do the following:

  • Notify the MoHRE about this violation 14 days before quitting and without any response from the employer about this behavior.

The employer has to receive a notification from the Ministry about this violation, and if it does not rectifies, the employee can leave without notice.

5.2 Assault

In the case of assault or harassment at the workplace, the employee must notify the MoHRE and competent authorities within five working days. In this case, the employee can leave without notice.

5.3 Safety or health risks

Another case in which the employee can leave without notice is when he or she faces a grave danger or a situation that threatens her or his safety or health, with the knowledge of the employer. The employer must be aware of Article 26 of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 where it is established the circumstances that pose danger to employees at the workplace.

In this regard, employees must know which situations can represent a health or safety risk for them. Some of these are the following:

  • Working near inflammable sources
  • Being exposed to electric cables that can provoke a shock
  • Hazardous substances or chemicals at the workplace that can affect the health
  • Working on site being exposed to high temperatures that may burn the employee
  • Exposure to radiation

5.4 Request to perform a different job

If the employer requests the employee to perform a different job that is fundamentally different from the job that he or she was hired to do and agreed on the employment contract. If the employee has not given his or her written consent to do this different job, then he or she may leave without notice.

6. How can Connect Resources help you understand the UAE Labour Law?

Here at Connect Resources, we want to help employees and employers to follow the law and remain compliant. If you are planning to resign from your job or if you are an employer that does not know how to handle the provisions in the UAE Labour Law, we can help you.

We offer a wide range of services to support you with employment matters. Our team of specialists can offer HR Consultancy to your business to understand more about how to handle your workforce, not only in terms of resignation but in more aspects. Moreover, we offer our PEO Services to manage your personnel efficiently.

Do you want to gain more insight into the UAE Labour Law and termination of employment? You can call us at +971 43 316 688 or write us at contact@connectresources.com. One of our representatives will answer all of your inquiries.

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