Recently, we received a message from one of our readers mentioning that a certain “reputable” company has not paid its workers for more than two months now. Hence, this article seeks to address similar situations, i.e. employers who do not pay their employees on time.
Ideally, workers should be receiving their salaries no later than the 10th day of the following month. This was even reiterated in the law on domestic workers issued by His Highness President Khalifa himself. Otherwise, employers would have to pay hefty fines and face stiff sanctions.
What to Do if Your Employer Doesn’t Pay Your Salary On Time
In 2009, the UAE government introduced the Wages Protection System (WPS) to ensure that workers are paid properly and on time. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) also issued Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016, which stipulated that:
- If the salary has not been paid within 10 days of the due date registered in the WPS, it is considered “late.”
- If the salary has not been paid within one month of the due date, the employer is deemed to be “refusing to pay wages.”
How to Make a Complaint
If you find yourself in this situation, here are the legal steps for you to take:
- Contact the MoHRE helpline on 800 665 or visit the local labour office to get advice and support.
- Accomplish and submit an application form typed in Arabic, which is available in labour offices.
- Submit these documents (which may vary on a case-to-case basis): labour card, Emirates National ID, labour contract, and other documents that you have signed with your employer.
NOTE: Keep in mind that you do not have to surrender your passport unless the court handling the dispute requires you to do so.
Article 155 of the UAE Labour Law states that copies of the written complaint should be given to the employer as well as the labour office. Upon receiving it, the employer should provide a written reply and settle the dispute within seven working days. Otherwise, the case will be handled by the labour office, who will try to mediate between the employer and employee.
If the matter is still not settled within 10 days, the case will be forwarded to a conciliation committee issued by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
Sanctions for Refusing to Pay Wages
Despite all efforts and mediation done by the labour office, what would happen if the employer still refuses to pay wages? Here are the corresponding penalties / sanctions:
- 16 days after the due date, the MoHRE will stop granting the employer any additional work permits and their license to trade shall be suspended.
- One month after the due date, the ministry will inform other authorities to take “punitive measures.” There will be a complete strike against other companies owned by the employer, who will also be prohibited from registering any new companies.
- 60 days after the due date, the employer will be charged administrative fines, from AED 5,000 per worker’s delayed wage, up to AED 50,000 in cases involving multiple workers.
Every worker is entitled to wage and benefits, so make sure that you know your rights as an employee. Meanwhile, here is a guide on working hours, official leaves, and vacations, based on the UAE Labour Law. Take time to know them so that you can be fully aware and informed!
DISCLAIMER: The topics presented in this article are for information-sharing purposes only. They may be used as a personal guide, but they should not be used as basis for actual labour concerns or legal proceedings. To learn more about the UAE Labour Law, visit the MoHRE official website.