Absconding from employer in the UAE

One of the most common violations in UAE labour relations is breaching contact by escape. What actions of employee or employer can cause this offense?

Misbehavior of employee where his absence at work is unknown for seven or more consecutive days, or he exited the country without any notification can be considered as an illegal act and determined as absconding. Hence, such employee will be treated as absconder (run-away). The employer has the right without prejudice to apply the report about this absence to the relevant authority. The Ministry of Labour can then cancel employment visa and impose a labour ban from working in all emirates of UAE.

This legal motion is regulated by Ministerial Resolution No.731 of 2006 on Escape Report Procedures as issued by the Ministry of Labour and based on UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 1980.

Article 128 of UAE Labour Law states:

Any non-national employee who absents himself from work without lawful reasons prior to the end of the contract for a limited period, may not take up employment elsewhere even with the consent of the employer for one year after the date on which he absented himself from duties. And no other employer who is aware of that may employ or keep such employee in his service during such period.

Filing an escape report is not only employer’s right, moreover, it is an obligation in default that will bear legal sequences. The time frame to report an absconding is 3 months term.
As a restriction, the worker can get ban preventing him to stay and work in UAE.
During the period when labour or immigration ban is in force, all new visa applications will be rejected (visit and tourist visas by General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs GDRFA; employment permits – by the Ministry of Labour).

In accordance with Article 120 of Labour Law, as one of the consequences of absconding without informing or communicating with an employer for over 2 months, can cause a termination of an employee without notice:

An employer may dismiss a worker without notice if the worker absents from his work without a valid reason for more than 20 non-consecutive days, or more than 7 consecutive days in a year.

Absconder can face preventive measure upon arrival and be arrested till the decision in his case. The legal procedure to consider absconding case is an investigation and further court judgment. Upon the judgment, the offender can be deported from the country with the following lifetime ban.

From an employer’s side, failure to report an escape, fake or conspired absconding report, cancellation of the absconding report or abusive actions against employee lead to penalties as follows:

1) Dh 10,000 fine in case of fake report;
2) Companies of the owners and all other firms with partners will be blocked unless paying AED 10,000;
3) Bank guarantee amount will not be refunded by Ministry of Labour;
4) The category of the company will be changed to C.

As a general rule, there are two situations where the absconding report may be cancelled either by an employer or by employee:

By employer:

An employer may cancel an absconding report if he gives an approval that there was an error in the absconding report. For example, the name included was wrong or the employee was hospitalized or imprisoned and was consequently absent from work without information.

By employee:

An employee may cancel an absconding report if he can prove his presence at work while he was reported absconding, or has a valid proof for his confinement to the hospital or jail during that period. Permit to get seek leave, medical report, confirmation of vacation can become a background to discharge absconding. Existence of dispute between parties and registered complaint in the labour authority can effect the decision on runaway report in favor of employee.