First published on Whatson.ae
So you’ve moved to Dubai and you’ve landed a sweet new job. You’re telling your mates about all the great perks – but as you compare notes with your fellow expats, you soon realise you might have missed out on a big one.
Does your company have to pay for a flight to your home country every year?
We checked with our legal friends at BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates. According to Partner Lara Barbary, a company is not obliged to offer an annual flight home to their employee, unless it is specified in the contract.
The reason this differs from company to company is because each company has its own policy.
Some companies offer expats an allowance or lump sum that is intended to cover the costs of an annual flight home. Others will book your tickets for you. These days, there are many companies that do not offer this perk at all.
The key is to check your contract carefully when you are offered a position. If the benefit is missing, you can always try to negotiate.
The only flight your employer is legally required to provide is your flight back to your home country when your contract comes to an end. If you end up getting another job during your time in Dubai, this obligation shifts to your new employer.
What about if you resign? In most cases, you will have to pay for your own flight home.
Here is the full UAE Labour Law Article 131:
According to UAE Labor Law Article 131, the employer shall, upon the termination of the contract, bear the expenses of repatriation of the worker to the location from which he is hired, or to any other location agreed upon between the parties.
Should the worker, upon the termination of the contract, be employed by another employer, the latter shall be liable for the repatriation expenses of the worker upon the end of his service.
Subject to the provisions of the preceding clause, should the employer not repatriate the worker and not pay the expenses of such repatriation, the competent authority shall do so at the expense of the employer. Such authority may recover such expenses by means of attachment.
Should the reason of the termination of the contract be attributable to the worker, the latter shall be repatriated at his own expense should he have the means therefore.