One of the biggest dilemmas that every employee faces, especially Filipino workers, is the renewal or non-renewal of employment contracts.
It is timely that the Gulf Law, together with Kabayan Weekly’s Kabayan of the Year awardee and Dusit Hotel’s Human Resource Director Vagelyn Federico, conducted another free legal aid seminar on focal topics concerning employment contracts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the Philippine Consulate Office in Dubai.
Atty. Barney Almazar, director of the commercial department of Gulf Law in the Middle East, the UK and the Philippines, lectured the basics on renewal of employment contracts in the UAE.
“Your employment contract is the law between you and your company, provided of course that its terms and conditions do not contravene the law. Even if you sign a waiver, such waiver will be void if you will get less than what the law provides,” Almazar said.
According to Almazar, everytime an employee gets promoted or given salary increments, he/she must always request the employer to execute a new contract, or at the very least, put the promotion or any change in the employment status in writing.
This is based on Article 134 which states that gratuity shall be computed on the basis of last wage which an employee is entitled to.
“If you do not have a new contract reflecting your new salary and your employer claims otherwise, proof of burden is on your side,” he added.
Federico, meanwhile, discussed salary negotiation by balancing basic wage and allowances.
Ferderico cited that if the total monthly salary of an employee is AED 10,000, it must be broken down into writing as to the basic wage and allowances like AED 6,000 as basic wage, and AED 1,500 for transportation and the remaining AED 2,500 for housing.
“This must be done by every employee to ascertain what he/she will receive because under Article 134, the monthly wage of the employee is considered the basis for computation of the end of service gratuity which does not include any allowances. In addition, overtime pay computation is likewise based on basic wage only. Thus, in the example above, the basis of gratuity pay will be AED 6,000 since allowances will not be considered. If you are an OFW [overseas Filipino worker] in the UAE, it will be beneficial if you will negotiate your basic salary to be AED 10,000 instead, without any allowance,” Ferderico stated.
“Knowing and being vigilant with your employment rights, particularly those who are in renewal of contracts will reduce incidence of abuses between an employer-employee relationship,” Almazar emphasized.