Q-My employer has not paid me salary for eight months. After waiting for many days, I resigned from my job. The company owes me Dh45,000 in gratuity and pending salaries. However, my employer has forged my signature on the cancellation document of my work permit which mentioned that I am an employee and had received all the pending dues from my employer. Can I file a complaint against my employer? How much will it cost?
It is assumed that you are employed by an employer based in the mainland of UAE and therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law') and Ministerial Decree No. (739) of 2016 concerning the protection of wages (the 'Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016') are applicable.
As per the provisions of Employment Law, an employee shall be remunerated at least once a month. This is in accordance with Article 56 of the Employment Law, which states: "Employees engaged on yearly or monthly salary shall be paid remuneration at least once a month; all other workers shall be paid at least once every two weeks." Therefore, non-payment of salary by an employer is a violation of the Employment Law.
Based on the aforesaid provision of the Employment Law, it may be noted that if an employer does not pay an employee within one month of the salary becoming due, it shall be considered as a refusal of the employer to remunerate an employee. This is in accordance with Article 1(b) of Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016, which states: "The employer shall be deemed late in paying unless he pays the salary within the first 10 days as of maturity date, and shall be deemed as refusing to pay the salary unless he pays it within one month as of the maturity date, unless a less term is set/provided in the contract."
If an employer refuses to remunerate its employee, it may be construed as a non- fulfillment of an employer's obligations towards the employee, which enables him to quit employment without serving the notice to the employer. This is in accordance with Article 121 (a) of the Employment Law, which states: "An employee may leave his work without notice if the employer fails to comply with his obligations towards him, as provided for in the contract or in this law."
As you have resigned from your employment, your employer is under an obligation to settle all your end-of-service benefits which includes your severance pay (gratuity) in accordance with Article 132 of the Employment Law, any pending salaries, including paid annual leave days that you have not taken in accordance with Article 79 of the Employment Law and repatriation costs as mentioned in Article 131 of the Employment Law. Further, the employer has to provide you with the experience certificate, as mentioned in Article 125 of the Employment Law. The aforesaid obligations have to be settled before you sign the work permit cancellation document.
It is a crime in the UAE to forge signature of an individual on a written instrument. This is in accordance with Article 216 (2) of Federal Law No. (3) of 1987 on issuance of the Penal Code, which states: "Forging a written instrument is an alternation of its genuineness, through one of the methods stated hereunder, resulting in sustenance of prejudice, if done with the purpose of using it as a genuine instrument.
(2) Putting up a forged signature or seal or change a genuine signature, seal or thumb print."
You may file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) pertaining to the non-settlement of your end-of-service benefits and the forgery of your signature by the employer on the cancellation document. You may further request for a copy of the complaint filed with the MOHRE along with the copy of the forged work permit cancellation document, which may be submitted to a public prosecutor or the police station to lodge a criminal complaint against your employer if you are able to prove that your signature was forged. It is recommended that you consult a legal practitioner in the UAE and seek further advice on this matter.
Know the law
The employer shall be deemed late in paying unless he pays the salary within the first 10 days as of maturity date, and shall be deemed as refusing to pay the salary unless he pays it within one month as of the maturity date, unless a less term is set/provided in the contract
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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