Want emergency leave? Don’t ask your employer

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Want emergency leave? Don’t ask your employer
Ahmed Abdul Aziz (Our Staff Reporter) KHALEEJ TIMES 16 March 2008

ABU DHABI – An employee can take emergency leave without seeking permission from the workplace or the sponsor, provided he/she has completed two years with the current sponsor and has leave balance, said an informed source in the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

Goumaa Al Roumaithi, Legal Advisor to the Disputes Department in the MoL, told Khaleej Times on March 16 “According to the labour law, if a worker has completed two years with the current sponsor, he/she can apply for any number of days as emergency leave.

“In such cases, workers should have enough leave balance, otherwise the employer has the right to make deductions from the worker’s salary,” said Al Roumaithi.

He pointed out that about 90 per cent of the labour complaints are about their rights regarding the annual leave, overtime and air tickets.

The MoL’s Disputes Department has received many complaints from workers demanding their rights after employers deducted amounts from their salaries although they had leave balance.

M.S., a Syrian accountant, said that the company he works at deducted about Dh1,300 from his salary after he had applied for one week’s leave to travel to his country to attend to serious family matters.

The accountant was shocked when he received the salary slip to find the deduction from his salary. “I asked the administration and they told me that I’m not allowed to apply for further vacation other than the annual leave despite there being more than 20 days leave balance,” he said.

“In case a company deducted an amount for the number of days a worker went on leave, it would pay the deducted amount back to the employee because he/she has already completed two years with the company. Moreover, he has leave balance. Hence, there were no justification to deduct the days of the additional leave,” added the MoL’s legal advisor.

Workers who face such violations of their rights by employers can go to the Disputes Department of the MoL in Mussafah Industrial Area and lodge a complaint.

The legal advisor warned the companies not to victimise and terminate any employee arbitrarily because he/she has complained to the ministry.

“If a company does that the employee can demand three months’ compensation, the right to transfer his sponsorship without referring to the current sponsor, and inform the Inspection Department at the ministry to inspect the erring companies,” said Al Roumaithi.

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