Absconding Law in The UAE
The employment laws of the UAE strongly preserves the rights of employers as well as employees in the country. Sometimes, the employee gets absent from work for a considerable period, without notifying the employer, due to which the employer has to suffer huge losses. In legal terms, it is called absconding. So, to protect the rights of employers, the UAE has a well structured law governing absconding cases in the country.
Article 120 of the UAE Federal Law No. 5 of 1980 (UAE Labour Law) deals with the absconding. It states that if any employee remains absent from the work for a consecutive period of 7 days, or leaves the country without notifying the employer, he will be terminated from the job and an absconding case will be registered against him. Alternatively, if any employee doesn’t come to office for 21 days in a particular year (non-consecutively), he will also be held liable for absconding.
In the offense of Absconding, the employer can not only terminate him from the service, but he could also initiate proceedings against him to recover the compensation, if an actual loss is occured due to the employee’s conduct. However, the compensation can’t exceed the amount equivalent to 45 days salary of the employee.
It is important to note that if the employee has some valid legal reason for his/her absence, he will not be charged for absconding. For instance – Article 124 of the UAE Labour Law states that the employee may not terminate the service of an employee for his health deficiency before he avails himself of the leaves lawfully due to him.
Registering an Absconding Case
The employers are given 3 months time to file an absconding report with the Ministry of Labour. The procedure for filing the report is mentioned in Ministerial Resolution No. (721) for 2006 of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980. The report is accompanied with a bank guarantee. If a report is filed once, it can’t be retracted or modified thereafter.
As per Article 128 of the UAE Labour Law, If it is proved that the employee has actually absconded from the country, then a one year labour and/or immigration ban could be imposed on the employee. He can’t seek employment in the UAE for the next year, even though the earlier employer gave his consent to it.
However, If an employee finds his name appearing on the absconding list even if he informs his reason of absence to the employer, he can approach the Ministry of Labour with adequate proof to delete his name from the list. If a fabricated report is filed, the company or his partners/shareholders will be fined with an amount of 10,000 AED per instance. Further, the bank guarantee amount will not be refunded and the company may be labelled as a “C” category company.
An employer should be highly careful while filing an absconding report. It is strongly advised to seek legal assistance regarding it.