Ask: A group of us work for a mainland company in Dubai. We have been asked to sign new contracts, which are not the same ones we accepted our current jobs for. The base salary of the new contract is significantly lower than the original one we signed. Is this legal? If we refuse to sign the contract and lose our job, can the dismissal be considered arbitrary?
Answer: Based on your queries, your employment contract is supposed to be of limited duration. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Labor Relations, Ministerial Resolution No. 27 of 2023 on the Extension of the Deadline for the Conversion of Employment Contracts and the Resolution will apply. Administrative No. 38 of 2022 on the Guidelines for the Implementation of Ministerial Resolution No. 46 of 2022 Regarding Work Permits, Offer Letters and Employment Contract Forms apply.
In the United Arab Emirates, the Current labor law came into force on February 2, 2022, and the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 that existed until then was repealed. However, certain adjustments were made related to the conversion of the employees’ employment contract to adapt it to the Current labor law. An employment contract for an indefinite period that has been registered during the regime of the Previous Labor Law had to be converted into a limited duration employment contract to adapt to the provisions of the Current labor law and all employers were required to complete such adjustments by February 1, 2023.
This is in accordance with Article 68, section 2, of the current Employment LawWhat states
“Employers must, within one (1) year from the date of entry into force of this Decree-Law, adapt their respective positions and change the employment contract for an indefinite period to an employment contract for a limited period, in accordance with the conditions, controls and procedures “This period may be extended by the Minister for other periods determined by the public interest.”
However, the aforementioned period to convert an employment contract of indefinite duration into an employment contract of limited duration was extended until December 31, 2023.
This is in accordance with Article 1 of Ministerial Resolution No. 27 of 2023What states,
“In accordance with the provisions of article 68 of the aforementioned Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021, we have extended the deadline for employers to rectify their current situation regarding the conversion of their employees’ employment contract to an unlimited employment contract. “to an employment contract limited to December 31, 2023.”
Furthermore, an employer, when converting an open-ended employment contract to a limited-duration employment contract, cannot change the existing terms and conditions of employment unless it is more advantageous to its employees.
this is below Article 65 (5) of the current Employment Law.What states,
“The employer may not review the terms and conditions of a valid employment contract entered into with the worker before the promulgation of this Decree-Law, with the intention of applying the provisions thereof, unless such modifications are for the greatest good. and benefit of the worker. The employment contract may be updated after its expiration in accordance with the provisions of this Decree-Law.”
Based on the aforementioned legal provisions, if your employment contracts and those of your colleagues are converted from employment contracts of unlimited duration to employment contracts of limited duration, your employer will not be able to change the conditions of employment unless the changes be more advantageous for you and your colleagues.
Additionally, your employer cannot force you or your co-workers to sign revised employment contracts. this is below Article 14, paragraph 1, of the current Employment Law.
In the event that your employer dismisses you and your colleagues for not signing the revised employment contract due to changes in the terms and conditions, you and your colleagues can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization and if the employer does not agree to resolve such matter amicably, you and your colleagues can file a labor case in the court having jurisdiction in the emirate of Dubai.
Furthermore, you and your colleagues can claim all your employment rights, including compensation for arbitrary dismissal by your employer, as mentioned in article 47 of the current Employment Law.
News Source: Khaleej Times