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Can employees leave a UAE job without notice? What the law says

Expat workers who leave their positions without a legal reason before the conclusion of their contracts face a one-year labor restriction under UAE law.

An employee must give a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 90 days written notice to leave a position, as stipulated in the employment contract.

An employer can file a report with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (Mohre) if an employee is away for seven days without a valid reason. The employer must have no information about the person’s whereabouts and no way of contacting them.

Article 45 of the law, on the other hand, specifies four instances in which employees may leave their jobs without having to serve a notice period:

1. If the employer fails to meet contractual or legal obligations to the employee, such as paying wages, and the employee reports the violation to Mohre 14 days before leaving work without receiving a response from the employer despite receiving a notification from the ministry, the employee is entitled to compensation.

2. If an employee is assaulted or harassed while on duty by the employer or a representative of the employer, the worker must notify the ministry within five working days.

3. If the employee is exposed to any safety or health concerns at work with the employer’s knowledge and the employer does nothing to mitigate the risk. Workplace dangers that allow an employee to leave without notice include:

  • An inflammable source on site
  • Exposure to electric cables that can result in a shock or death
  • Hazardous chemical substances that may affect an employee’s health and well-being
  • High temperatures on-site that may cause burns
  • Exposure to consistent loud noise that can cause a permanent hearing damage
  • Exposure to radiation that can cause cancer or blindness
  • Any other biological risks present on site

4. If the employee is asked to perform labor that is significantly different from the job that was agreed upon in the employment contract without his or her written consent. Under normal circumstances, employers can temporarily seek a change of job from a worker if it is urgent and necessary, as long as the worker gives written consent. KMB/Expat Media

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