Ask the law: Employer must bear treatment cost in work-related accidents in UAE, agreement or not

Ask the Law
Ask the Law
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Question1: What is the employer’s obligation, as per UAE Labour Law, in case an employee suffers an accident while at work? Is the employer obligated to pay for medical expenses in case there is an agreement that the employer is not responsible for any expenses in case of an accident while at work?

Answer: Labour Law 8 of 1980, Article No: 144 states that, “Where a worker sustains an employment-related accident or contracts an occupational disease, the employer shall pay for the cost of his treatment at a local government or public medical centre. Treatment shall include hospitalisation or stay in a sanatorium, surgical procedures, expenditure on X-rays and medical analyses, the purchase of medicines and rehabilitation equipment and the supply of artificial limbs and other prosthetic appliances for any person who is declared disabled. In addition to what he supplies, the employer shall bear the cost of any transport related to treatment provided for the worker.”

Finally, as per the UAE Labour Law, the employer is still obliged to pay for the expenses in case of any employment-related accident, even though he or she may have signed an agreement with the employee that he or she is not responsible to pay for such expenses. In fact, such an agreement is considered against UAE Labour Law.

Forced resignation 

Question 2: I have been working in Dubai for a private company for three years and the contract was certified by the Ministry of Labour. Two months ago, my employer asked me, through an email, to resign. Due to subsequent pressure from the employer, I resigned. Since then, my notice period has expired and I have asked my employer to pay my end-of-service dues. The employer told me that he would pay my full dues as soon as I signed the clearance letter. So in all good faith, I signed the letter. However, now he has refused to pay my dues. Can I register a case in the court? Can the employer seek compensation because I had to tender my resignation?

Answer: Regarding the clearance letter that you had signed, it is understood that any letter issued by a worker shall not be deemed as an expression of intent to relinquish any right that had been prescribed for him under the Contract of Employment. Also, such a letter cannot be used as a tool for violation of the worker’s legally prescribed rights — unless this waiver is issued after the end of the working relationship between the two parties and is in agreement with the fulfilment of all the worker’s mentioned rights. In this case it is valid [Worker Challenge No 1 — 2005 Session 19-6 June 2005].

It is decided — in the Court of Cassation — that it is not permissible to challenge the employee’s acknowledgement of receiving his labour entitlements unless his approval has included those entitlements exclusively and is not absolutely anonymous in general without specifying any of them. [Labour Challenge No 67 — 2017]

It has also been decided at the Cassation Court that the trial court has full authority to obtain and understand the reality in assessing documents, declarations and extracting the non-judicial acknowledgement and its appreciation as evidence in the case without being monitored by the Court of Cassation when its extraction is valid and has a fixed origin in the papers. (Appeal No 371/2011, commercial session 4/18/2012)

As a result, you have the right to file a case, but you are the one responsible to prove that the employer didn’t pay what you had signed for, furnishing any kind of evidence such as witnesses, testimony, investigation, oath etc. The estimation of such evidence is the court’s discretion.

Regarding the resignation, it is stipulated from the text of Article 113 of the Law on Regulating Labour Relations No 8 of 1980, amended by Law 12 of 1986, that a worker may — after declaring it to the employer — resign from work and this resignation will be a termination of the Employment Contract on his part by his sole will and shall produce its effect once it is submitted. Whether the employer has arbitrarily dismissed the worker or not is an issue that is to be independently assessed by the trial court.

The court has the authority to decide whether the employer had arbitrarily dismissed the worker or not. The trial court is independent to assess the evidence and documents submitted and interpreted.

Therefore, you are the one responsible to prove that you were forced to submit this resignation and the court has the authority to decide on it.

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