We have already started to experience how the latest revisions to the labour law provide increased flexibility and protection for employees and employers alike. These new updates are one of the biggest changes to be introduced to the UAE Labour Laws. Many of the new rules make it easier for employees to change jobs while protecting the employers, financially. The new laws make it illegal for employers to force their employees to leave the country at the end of their work contract or on termination of the same. Instead, the worker will be allowed to find a new job.
We also learnt that “Unlimited Contracts” have been completely abolished. Instead, they have been replaced with Limited Contracts that cannot be valid for more than 3 years. This contract can be renewed at the end of the term if both parties agree. According to well-known Dubai lawyers, these new laws unifiy and simplify the UAE labour market. There are new rules regarding probation for the employee when an employee starts a new job.
Probation Periods and Job Changes
The new law states that probation period must not be longer than six months, and employers are required to give a minimum of 14 days' notice in writing if they wish someone to leave their employment before the date specified for ending their service. Previously, during the probation period, the employer was allowed to terminate the contract at any time with no notice and any reason. That is not the case anymore, i.e., the law no longer allows for immediate termination.
Furthermore, the law also has changed with regards to how employees can leave a job during probation. The length of the notice period the employee has to serve now depends on the reason why they are leaving the job and what their plans are after resigning. If the resigned employee wishes to join another company in the UAE, then he must give one month's written notice. The new employer is also required to compensate the previous employer for all the recruitment costs or fees spent contracting the employee. If the resigned employee is leaving the UAE, then only 14 days' written notice is required. However, if that person returns to the Emirates and obtains a new work permit within three months from the date of departure, and goes to work for another employer, the new employer must compensate the previous employer, unless there is an agreement between the employee and the previous employer stating otherwise. If the new company fails to abide by this regulation, compensation equal to the employee’s wage must be paid.
In the event where the employee leaves the country without adhering to the regulations, he/she will not be issued a permit to work in the UAE for 1 year. Ms Ludmila Yamalova, a Dubai-based lawyer says that these new laws regarding probations and job changes “...are clearly designed to deter employees using certain employers as a bridge into the UAE from abroad. That is understandable given the recruitment cost to employers."