UAE: Can an employer refuse to give experience letter after termination?

UAE: Can an employer refuse to give experience letter after termination?

A reader asks for guidance on the law after his former employer refuses to give an experience letter.

Question: I worked with a Dubai mainland company for three months after which they terminated me. Now, another company has agreed to hire me but is asking for an experience letter. However, the former employer has refused to give me an experience letter because I was still on probation. Please guide me what the law says in this regard.

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you were employed by a mainland company located in the emirate of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulation of Employment Relationships in the UAE are applicable.

In the UAE, an employer may terminate an employee by issuing 14 days of notice during the probation period. This is in accordance with Article 9 (1) of the Employment Law, which states,

“The employer may appoint an employer under a probationary period not exceeding 6 months from the date of commencement of work. The employer may terminate the service of an employer during this period after notifying the latter of the same in writing 14 days at least before the date specified for the termination of service."

Moreover, an employer is obligated to provide an employee with an experience letter on termination of the employment contract. This is in accordance with Article 13(11) of the Employment Law, which states:

“The employer shall comply with the following:

Giving the employee, as per his request and upon expiry of the employment contract, a certificate of experience, without fees, indicating the date of his commencement of work, the date of its expiry, his entire service term, job title or type of work he was performing, the last salary he was receiving and the reason for the termination of the employment contract, provided that the certificate does not include anything that may harm the employee’s reputation or limit his chances of finding new job opportunities.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it is assumed that your employer has terminated your employment after issuing you with 14 days of notice. You are entitled to receive an experience letter from your previous employer which should include details such as your role with such employer, period of service and the last drawn salary.

In addition, your previous employer may not mention anything negative about your employment which may harm your prospects of obtaining new employment. The Employment Law does not specifically state that employees terminated during probation are not entitled to experience certificates from their employers. Therefore, your previous employer may be obligated to provide you with an experience certificate even though your employment was terminated during probation period.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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