Your right to claim gratuity from Dubai employer lapses after one year.
Q-My father was employed with a reputed company based in the emirate of Dubai from 1987 to 2011 for a period of 24 years. His company decided to outsource the section of my father’s work and he was not selected by the outsourcing firm due to his age. After this, his health deteriorated and he was temporarily debilitated.
Further, his eyesight was affected and he went blind in one of his eyes. I had to seek medical treatment in November 2013 as he was diagnosed with retinal detachment which called for an urgent surgery. Due to several medical-related issues, he decided to leave the UAE.
Currently, my father’s company (ex-employer) is not willing to release his gratuity as they have informed that it has been over five years and therefore, they cannot release it in accordance with UAE employment law. I wish to know if it is legal for an employer to opt redundancy on an employee’s gratuity and also, if there are any other alternatives to claim my father’s gratuity benefits.
We assume that your father was employed with a private company based in the mainland of Dubai. Since your father has been terminated by his company in 2011, he had the option of claiming all his entitlements within one year of termination of employment.
This is in accordance with Article 6 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’). It states: “Without prejudice to the provisions concerning collective employment disputes stated in this law, if the employer or the employee or any beneficiary thereof raised a claim concerning any of the rights accruing to any of them according to the provisions of this law, he shall submit a request thereof to the Labour Department (Ministry of Human Resources & Emiritisation) concerned.
This department shall summon the two parties to the dispute and shall take whatever it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably.
If an amicable settlement is not reached, the said department must, within two weeks from date of submission of request, submit the dispute to the court concerned.
The submission must be accompanied by a note including a summary of the dispute, the arguments of the two parties and the observation of the department. The court shall, within three days from date of receiving the request, fix a sitting to consider the claim and the two parties shall be notified thereof. The court may summon a representative of the Labour Department to explain the note submitted by it.
In all cases, no claim of any entitlement due under the provisions of this law, shall be heard if brought to court after a lapse of one year from the date of which such entitlement became due, and no claim shall be admitted if the procedure stated in this article are not adhered to.”
Based on the aforementioned provision of law, your father is not in a position to claim his end of service entitlements from his employer as he had been terminated from his employment in 2011.
However, considering your father’s long term service with his ex-employer, his old age and health issues, your father may consider filing a complaint against his former employer with the Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation seeking humanitarian grounds.
Further, your father has to submit all the relevant documents, written assurances by his ex-employer regarding payment of end of services and medical reports to the ministry who may take up his request on humanitarian grounds, with his former employer.
Further, he may also file a civil suit against his ex-employer for breach of contract. The limitation period to file a civil suit for breach of contract in the UAE is 15 years.
This is in accordance with Article 473 of the Civil Transactions Law of the UAE, which states, “The right shall be extinguished (nullified) by lapse of time; the action against a repudiating party shall not be heard after the lapse of 15 years without a legal excuse without prejudice to special provisions contained therein.”
Know the law
If the employer or the employee or any beneficiary thereof raises a claim concerning any of the rights accruing to any of them according to the provisions of law, he shall submit a request thereof to the Labour Department (Ministry of Human Resources & Emiritisation) concerned. This department shall summon the two parties to the dispute and shall take whatever it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably