Amid the ongoing crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic, hundreds and thousands of jobs have become directly or indirectly affected all over the world. Needless to say, there is much uncertainty in the world at this very moment.
However, in the UAE, those who have been terminated regardless of the reason, are still given certain benefits as per the country’s labor law – one of which is airfare (shouldered by their former employers) to return to their home country.
Terminated Employees Can Legally Claim Airfare from Employers as per UAE Law
In a joint statement, the Philippine Embassy in the UAE and the Philippine Consulate in Dubai reminded Filipinos in the region that employees have the right to ask for their ticket.
And with this, the Philippine missions in the UAE have assured all Filipinos in the Emirates that they are ready to assist them and “will do everything possible to help them weather the crisis” that was brought about by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a memorandum written in Filipino, the Philippine diplomatic posts said: “If you are terminated, it is the obligation of your employer to get you a return ticket to the Philippines. This is pursuant to the UAE Labour Laws.”
According to the advisory, “The employer can book a flight via Emirates of Etihad Airlines, which have been given a permission to fly to the Philippines. There is no need to call the Embassy or Consulate on this because they have been given special flights permission to land in Manila despite the lockdown in Metro Manila and Luzon.”
Addressing all concerned employers, the two missions said: “We are calling on the employers for their understanding and cooperation.”
“(We are) ready to assist our compatriots and will do everything possible to help them weather this crisis,” they added.
Seek Help from Friends or Family
The advisory also instructed all affected Filipinos who have no employers or job contracts and have arrived in the UAE to look for a job through the help of family and friends or through a sponsoring travel agency to get their assistance to buy a ticket.
The advisory explained that they can directly book through either Emirates or Etihad. And there’s no need to contact the embassy or consulate.
Meanwhile, those without any employer, relative or friend to help them and would like to go home for good, they should get in touch with the Embassy of Consulate “to help assess their situation.”
The Philippine Embassy will then request for help from the Philippine government to purchase them return tickets to facilitate their return to the Philippines.
For his part, Philippine Consul-General Paul Raymund Cortes explained that the total budget of the Philippine government for its Assistance to Nationals (ATN) is PhP 1 billion pesos (AED 72.5 million) annually for overseas Filipinos globally.
Cortes further noted that the ATN Fund has been crucial in helping overstaying Filipinos in the UAE during the 2018 Amnesty Repatriation program.
“Philippine authorities shouldered not just the airfare of amnesty seekers, but also their out-pass clearances and other administrative fees,” he explained.