Ask the law: How can I claim my end-of-service benefits?
'My company offered me a sum of money towards my gratuity but it is less than what I am entitled to'
I worked for a company for more than four years on an unlimited contract. Two months ago, I submitted my resignation and also served the notice period but I still haven’t received my end-of-service dues. My company offered me a sum of money towards my gratuity but it is less than what I am entitled to considering my service. In case there is no amicable settlement with my company and I decide to file a complaint with the labour office, how long would the Ministry of Labour take to settle the issue? Is there a specific time-frame for this as per the labour law? Can I request the Ministry of Labour to refer the matter to court if there has been no amicable settlement? Otherwise, do I have the right to go directly to the labour court without getting a transfer paper from the Ministry of Labour? Can the Ministry of Labour force the employee to accept an amount less than what is due? Is it possible to request the Ministry of Labour to issue a temporary work permit so that I can take up work with a new company until my case is settled because I have a very good offer from a good company and I want to join them at the earliest. Please advise.
Article 6 (amended) of the Federal Labour Law No 8 of 1980 states: “Without prejudice to the provisions concerning collective labour disputes stated in this law, if the employer or the worker or any beneficiary thereof raised a claim concerning any of the rights accruing to any of them according to the provisions of this law, he shall submit a request thereof to the concerned Labour Department. This department shall summon the two parties to the dispute and shall take whatever steps it deems necessary to settle the dispute amicably. If the amicable settlement is not reached, the said department must, within two weeks from date of submitting request, submit the dispute to the concerned court. The submission must be accompanied with a note including a summary of the dispute, the arguments of the two parties and the observation of the department. The court shall, within three days from date of receiving request, fix a sitting to consider the claim and the two parties shall be notified thereof. The court may summon a representative of the Labour Department to explain the note submitted by it. In all cases, no claim of any entitlement due under the provisions of this law shall be heard if brought to court after the lapse of one year from the date on which such entitlement became due, and no claim shall be admitted if the procedure stated in this article are not adhered to.”
Therefore, the above article sets two weeks for the amicable settlement of the dispute without obliging any party to accept the settlement. In case no settlement is reached, the Ministry of Labour will transfer the complaint to the competent court; therefore the questioner cannot put the complaint directly to the labour court without getting a court transfer paper from the Ministry of Labour, as per the above mentioned article. Finally, when the case is admitted in court, the employee can apply for temporary work permit from the Ministry of Labour.
Questions answered by Mohammad Al Shaiba of Mohammad Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants