Sunday, September 9, 2012

Six month labour ban in UAE applies to working women sponsored by family members

Dubai: A six-month ban imposed by the Ministry of Labour on people who fail to complete the period of employment stipulated under labour rules also applies to working women sponsored by their family members. An official from the ministry said women seeking to change their jobs or leave work before completing the contractual obligation of two years with their employer would automatically attract the ban.

The official who did not wish to be named said the ban will take effect the moment a woman under the sponsorship of her husband or father cancels her labour card.

The official was commenting on the case of an Algerian woman identified as Hasnaa Talbi who was slapped with a six-month ban after resigning from work despite being on the sponsorship of her Tunisian husband Radawan.

Hasnaa, who worked for around two months at a jewellery store in Dubai, was shocked that she had been handed down a six-month labour ban by the ministry despite the fact that she had been working for just two months. “This ban is an issue for me because I was looking to move to a new employer. Most employers will not wait for six months while the ban period elapses,” she said.

The aggrieved woman said she had lodged a complaint at the Ministry of Labour but it took the ministry almost six months to respond forcing her to eventually drop the complaint.

Officials had previously stated that women who take up employment while remaining under the sponsorship of a male relative are not affected by a work ban. The ministry has now come round to the view that in cases where a wife or daughter decides to change jobs or to leave work without completing two years of employment, she will be automatically banned by the Ministry of Labour for six months.
“Bans are imposed on all expatriate employees working in private sector when they want to move from one employer to another if they left employer without having completed a minimum of two years’ service,” the official said.

He said the mandatory six-month labour ban applies to both men and women even if individuals are sponsored by family members and is calculated from the date an employee’s labour card is cancelled at the ministry of Labour. “This is an administrative ban, meaning that a block is inserted into the ministry’s computer system preventing an application for labour approval being processed against banned person’s name and passport number,” he said.

The ban cannot be lifted by paying a fine either. “The ban is mandatory under law, this means it is implemented automatically unless the Ministry of Labour is instructed otherwise,” the official said.