Question: I will be taking up employment with a Dubai-based company shortly. Have probation rules changed after the new UAE employment law went into force? What type of leaves can I take during probation? What is the notice period if I am to resign or if the company is to fire me?
Response: It is assumed that you shall be employed by a mainland entity based in Dubai. 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 employer may place an employee on probation for not more than six months. The employer may terminate the employee during this period by serving 14 days’ notice.
This is in accordance with Article 9(1) of the Employment Law, which states:
"The Employer may employ the employee on probation for a period not exceeding (6) six months from the service commencement date. The employer may terminate the employee during such period by giving the employee (14) fourteen days' prior written notice.”
An employer may not place an employee on probation again after the completion of the six-month period.
This is in accordance with Article 9(2) of the Employment Law.
Further, an employee who intends to resign and join another employer in the UAE during the probation period needs to serve one-month notice. The new employer shall compensate the current employer with recruitment or contract costs.
This is in accordance with Article 9.3 of the Employment Law, which states:
“An employee who intends to move on to another employer in the UAE during the probationary period shall notify his current employer in writing at least 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.”
An employee may also resign by serving 14 days of notice to the employer if the former intends to depart from the UAE. However, if the employee takes up new employment in the UAE within three months of termination, then the new employer needs to compensate the recruitment and contract costs to the previous one. This is in accordance with Article 9(4) of the Employment Law.
Further, if an employer or an employee does not serve the notice period during the probation period, then the party who fails to do so should compensate the other. This is in accordance with Article 9(5) of the Employment Law. Any employee who breaches the regulations related to the probation period may not be granted a new work permit for the period of one year. However, certain categories of employees are exempted from such restrictions based on their skill levels and designations. This is in accordance with Article 9(6) of the Employment Law.
An employee is not entitled to any paid sick leave during the probation period. However, an employer may grant an employee sick leave based on a medical report issued by the local authorities stating that such leave is necessary for an employee. This is in accordance with Article 31 (2) of the Employment Law. As an employee, you may request your employer to grant you unpaid leave anytime during your service with the employer. However, such leave is granted to you at the discretion of the employer. This is in accordance with Article 33 of the Employment Law.
Further, upon completion of the probation period, if an employer or employee intends to terminate the contract, the party that wishes to do so must serve a one-month notice period.
News Source: Khaleej Times