Can my salary be deducted for leaving work early in UAE?

An employee should follow work ethics and normal disciplinary rules at the workplace.

I am employed by an employer – who is a Dubai registered company – on an employment contract of unlimited duration. Recently, my employer verbally warned me for taking too many breaks during work hours. Further, he threatened me that he will terminate me if I don’t reduce the number of breaks.

I am a smoker and I take about 3-4 five-minute breaks during the day and further half-an-hour break for lunch. I put in over nine hours in the office and have exceeded all the work-related targets during my tenure for three years with my employer. My productivity has not been affected by my habit of smoking, but my employer is very serious about the warning.

An employee taking too many breaks during work hours is violation of normal code of discipline at the workplace. Your employer may warn you and take action against you if you don’t reduce or stop your unusual breaks during work hours for smoking. Efficiency in work and disciplinary conduct are two separate aspects.

An employee should follow work ethics and normal disciplinary rules at the workplace. This is in accordance with Schedule mentioned in ministerial order no. 28/1 of 1991 regarding mode disciplinary code, a guide to employee in making disciplinary regulations applied in their undertaking. The Schedule clearly states the kind of contravention and the degree of penalty to be imposed on the employee. An employee taking frequent breaks during working hours may attract the following penalties as mentioned in the Schedule:

. Contraventions in respect of time keeping: Leaving the work or the workplace before the working hours without permission or reasonable excuse may attract 25 per cent of salary deduction of the said day if the offence has been committed by the employee for the first time. If the same offence is committed for the second time, the penalty shall be 50 per cent of the salary deduction of the day, one day’s salary deduction for the third time and two days’ salary deduction for the fourth time, respectively.

. Contravention in respect of order during work: Employee’s idleness or presence in a place other than their workplace during working hours may attract the aforementioned salary deductions. After the fourth contravention, the employer may issue a written warning and the employee may be dismissed if the offence is committed for the fifth time and within six months from the date of commission of the offence for the fourth time.

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, your employer may terminate your employment on the grounds of discipline and may also apply Article 120(e) of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE, which states,

“An employer may dismiss an employee without notice if the employee does not perform his basic duties under the contract of employment and persists in violating them despite the fact that he has been the subject of a written investigation for this reason and that he has been warned that he will be dismissed if such behavior continues.”

Know the law

Leaving the work or the workplace before the working hours without permission or reasonable excuse may attract 25 per cent of salary deduction of the said day, if the offence has been committed by the employee for the first time

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