I’ve been working for a freezone company for more than a year, but due to other plans, I decided to resign. I informed my employer about the decision and submitted a resignation letter to formally file it. According to my free zone work contract, I needed to give 30-days notice for it. I wanted to share the story to you in case you have plans of quitting your job.
Maybe you have found a new employer or you just want to go back home. Whatever your reason for resigning, and regardless if this is a freezone company or UAE company, this guide will give you an idea how to properly resign from your current job.
Disclaimer: Please let this post act only as a tip. This is based on an experience of an OFW who shared his story resigning from his job. But cases may be different per free zone company or even per UAE-registered company. We hope you get a general idea about the process of terminating your contract effectively and smoothly.
Step by Step Guide to Resigning from Your Job in the UAE / How to Quit Properly
Be advised that my employer was a very good employer and didn’t make the process difficult for me just to resign. I was more than lucky to have worked for them. Let me outline the steps I did in order to make this transition work smoothly.
- I finalized the date of my last day at work.
- I spoke to my immediate supervisor about my decision.
- I submitted my Resignation Letter (30-days before last day of work) to formally file it.
- In the last 30 days, I finished all pending tasks and handed over existing tasks to the person who was replacing me.
- After the 30 days, my employer scheduled a date where we would go to the Freezone Headquarters so we can cancel the contract at the office. It is important that the employer and the employee will sign the end of contract paper at the headquarters to make sure there are no pending concerns (unpaid salary, documents, other contract issues. My employer paid me my gratuity pay or end of service benefits before going to the Freezone HQ. You can check the computation of End of Service Gratuity pay below.
- At the Freezone Headquarters, I surrendered necessary documents in order to cancel the employment. The ID’s I submitted were my passport, Emirates ID, and Freezone ID. I also signed a paper agreeing to the said termination of employment. The local officer told me to wait for 3-5 business days for it to be processed and the residence visa stamp to be ‘cancelled’.
- After my employment visa was successfully cancelled, my employer claimed my passport and I met with him so I could get my passport from him. Aside from the passport, a cancellation certificate was also given to me which indicated the last day where I could stay in Dubai. You will be given a 30-day grace period after the cancellation to get a new visa (employment, family visa, etc.) or Exit the country.
So I had 30 days to secure a new visa or I had to Exit the country. If you have found another job, then this is the timeline where your new employer should process your new employment visa. Make sure that process it right away to avoid penalties.
Again, I was very lucky to have a very supportive employer that made the resignation procedure fast and smooth. I’ve met former colleagues who had a different experience because the employer did not pay them their gratuity or didn’t give them their passport right away. Everybody has a different scenario but we hope you get an understanding based on the experience shared above. Below are other points you might wonder when terminating your employment contract. Please read through them so you get a general idea about the process.
Canceling Employment Contract in a Freezone Company
The process of cancelling the contract in a freezone company usually requires the employer and the employee to meet at the freezone headquarters so both of them can meet the officers in person. This is to ensure that all obligations are met and that there is mutual agreement between the 2 parties of the said termination of the employment contract. In my case, after submitting our documents, the officer asked me if my employer has paid me my end of service benefits and that everything is fine. I said Yes and all is well.
What if I Overstay? or Go Beyond the 30-Day Grace Period?
Overstaying in the country after your 30-day grace period will constitute a Fine. As what I have heard (which may be different now), the fine was 125 AED for the first day of overstay, and 25 AED for every succeeding day. We advise that you should NOT overstay in the country.
Aside from paying the fine, your now ex-employer is still responsible for your 30-day grace period. In some cases, employers will not give back the passport to their employees right away until the employee has a confirmed ticket to leave the country or has proof of new employment.
If you overstay, immigration officers will call your ex-employer because they were the last ones who issued you your last residence visa. In my situation, I was really lucky that my employer trusted me that I would be able to get a new visa, so he gave my passport to me right away.
Computation and Breakdown of Gratuity Pay
The last pay would depend on the number of years the employer has worked for the company so it varies per employee. Usually, you are entitled to Gratuity pay when you have finished a minimum of 1 year from your employer as per Labour Law. You can check UAE Labour Law Article 132. I also had my unused vacation leaves that were converted to cash. So here’s the breakdown of my Gratuity Pay:
- Unused vacation leaves – as per Art. 75 of UAE Labour Law, plus
- I still had some unused vacation leaves so these were tallied and then converted to cash which was included in my last salary.
- End of Service Pay – as per Art. 132 of UAE Labour Law
- The end of service pay depends on the number of years you have completed at work. If you worked between 1-5 years, you will get a gratuity pay of 21 days salary for each year of service.
- If you have worked for 6 years or more, the computation of gratuity pay would be 30 days salary for each year.
What if I have to resign immediately? I don’t have 30 days to give notice.
It all depends on your situation, some companies, might require you more than 1 month’s notice to resign, some might be less. But it is best that you talk to your employer about it. Please don’t be afraid to discuss this with your boss. After all, you are talking to them because you want to process things smoothly.
If you have a valid reason, you may be able to resign earlier than 30 days, but you may be asked to backdate your resignation letter so that it would be legally valid. It really depends. So have a good working relationship with your employer. If your boss is not that approachable, then talk to them in a civil manner and tell them about your case. Whatever is the response, then you can proceed with the resignation process.
Talk to Your Employer
We cannot stress the importance of talking properly to your employer. I have noticed that there are people who are afraid to speak up. Talking to your employer about future plans should be a normal situation. Remember that in the UAE, there are plenty of workers and even your boss is also an employee themselves. It’s always a matter of discussing issues, such as quitting, in a professional manner. Try to muster enough courage to speak and handle matters like resignation properly.
Work Ban in Freezone Company?
The cancellation certificate would also indicate if you have a labour ban or not. I did not have a work ban and in most cases, freezones don’t have these labour bans. But again, always make sure to contact the headquarters office of your particular freezone because we could be wrong or rules may change without prior notice.
Freezone Companies and the UAE Labour Law
We have discussed before that freezone companies have a different set of rules compared to UAE registered companies. However, there are certain points where freezones also use same points from the UAE Labour Law. It is a case to case basis. So depending on the freezone area, you may have to verify and contact the officers of that free zone in terms of the rules. But in my situation, in terms of the of the Gratuity Pay end of service salary, we followed the same UAE Labour law.
For reference, you may get a copy of the UAE Labour law from the Ministry of Labour website here – https://www.mol.gov.ae/molwebsite/en/labour-law/labour-law.aspx – Check out Title Seven which discuss the termination of contract and End of Service Gratuity.
We hope that the information above will help you understand better how to resign effectively from your job. Good luck!
Other helpful articles about UAE Labour and working in Dubai:
- What is a Limited Contract?
- What is an Unlimited Contract?
- How to Lift UAE Labour Ban?
- How to View Your UAE Labour Contract Online
- Difference Between Limited and Unlimited Contract
- Types of Ban in the UAE
- Job Offer is Legally Binding
- The 6-Month Probationary Period
- 6 Months Labour Ban Can be Cancelled
- How I Transferred to a Freezone Company