Delay in Salary and Wages Protection for UAE Workers

Workers deserve to be paid on time. Even if you are working in the UAE, you have the right to receive the right amount of salary at the right time as per UAE Labour law. In this article, we share information about delay in salary and corresponding fines to help expats and domestic workers in the UAE gain enough knowledge about this matter relating to employment. Just a basic reminder—your employers can get fined if they do not pay you on time but you need to be aware of the laws that govern this issue.

For those who are wondering, the UAE labour law states that the wages of workers in the country must be paid no later than the 10th day of the following month. His Highness President Khalifa reiterated in order to remind not only the employees but as well as the employers that they will pay huge fines and face sanctions if they do not follow.

Knowing these rules will help you in a lot of ways. As long as you have knowledge about the law, you can always talk to your employer or to the labor department to fix any disputes.

What to do in Case of Salary Delay

This will serve as your guide to know more about the wages system in the UAE, the fines to be imposed to the employer for not paying the wages, ways on how you can inform your employer about the issue, where you can report the dispute, and the things you should avoid so your employer won’t hold you wages. In no circumstance the employer should hold your salary because you have the right to receive it. To get started, here’s your ultimate guide on the wages and labor laws you can use against your employers.

The Wages Protection System (WPS) in the UAE

The Wages Protection System (WPS) in the UAE was introduced by the government in 2009. This aims to protect employees so that they can receive their salary properly and on time. The Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016 was also issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) wherein it states the following provisions:

  • If the salary of the employee has not been paid within 10 days from the due date designated in the WPS, the salary is considered as late.
  • If the salary of the employee has not been paid within one month from the due date, it means that the employer is refusing to pay the wages of his/her employees.

These are the first things you need to be aware of so you can categorize where you should come from. Each provision mentioned above will lead you to specific solutions like reminding your employer about your salary or reporting your employer to the authority. Before you do anything that will involve the court or MoHRE, make sure that you settle the dispute internally first. Delays can mean a lot of meaning and miscommunication can be one. You would know if you will talk to your employer first.

When to Remind Your Employer

Some of you may ask when is the right time to remind your employer about the delayed salary. You can remind your employer even if there is only a day of lapse. You don’t have to wait for an additional 10 days from the date of your salary to set a reminder. Since this is just internal, you can talk to your employer about it so you would know as well the cause of the delay. This is your chance to voice out your issue and an opportunity for your employer to resolve the issue as well.

How to Remind Your Employer

You should not forget your right to be paid on time and in case there is a need to remind your employer, there are things that you can do. What’s to avoid is being shy to voice out your concern. As long as you have a valid request, your employer should openly hear what you have to say. Do not hold yourself from telling your employer. Remind him/her of his delay first before reporting it to the authority to avoid disputes on getting bigger. Here are the steps you can follow when reminding your employer about the salary delay.

  • Message your employer through a text message or email if you have the means to do so.
  • If you can’t message your employer, you can talk directly to your supervisor or employer and ask if your salary has been deposited to your account.
  • Avoid using harsh, bad, and threatening words when talking to your employers. You can reason out that you need your salary to pay for your daily expenses so your employer would know that the delay is causing something unpleasant to the employee and there is a possibility that he/she may not report to work due to lack of funds.
  • Think of valid reasons to use when asking for your wages. Aside from daily expenses, you can also tell your employer that you need the money to send some to your family.
  • Always remind properly to avoid any conflicts in the workplace.

If you’ve done all of this and your employer still doesn’t take action to address your concern, then you can take this issue to a higher level. If the manager doesn’t care, report it to the higher management. Keep all your reminder emails and text messages so you have proof that you are reminding them.

How To File A Complaint About Salary Delay

Now, if your employer ignores your messages and reminders, don’t give up. There are still things can you can do to resolve your wage concern. Make sure to follow the following steps in case reminders don’t work:

  • Call the helpline of MoHRE through 800 655 or go to your local labor office to ask for support and advice.
  • Fill out and submit the application form in Arabic. This form is usually available in labor offices.
  • Prepare your labor card, labor contract, Emirates National ID, and other necessary documents with your and your employer’s signature.
  • No need to surrender your passport unless the court who handles the dispute requires.

Reminder When Filing A Complaint

  • According to Article 155 of the labor law in UAE, the employee should give the employer and the labor office a copy of the written complaint.
  • The employer must give a written reply and resolve the issue within 7 working days from receiving the written complaint.
  • If the employer fails to reply, the case will be handled by the labor office. This office will serve as an intermediary between the employee and the employer.
  • If the case is still not resolved within 10 days, a committee by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs will handle the case.

Fines and Punishments For Not Paying The Employees

Reminders might not be enough if your employer really refuses to pay you. But get your heads up because you can use the law against your employer. If your employer will not pay you, he/she will face the following fines and punishments instead:

  • MoHRE will stop giving the employer any additional work permits 16 days after the due of the salary. The license to trade will also be suspended.
  • The authorities will tell other offices to take punitive measures 30 days or one month after the due of the salary. A complete strike will be done against other companies owned by the employer. The employer will not be permitted to register new companies as well.
  • The employer will face administrative fines which will be from AED 5,000 to AED 50,000 60 days after the due of the salary. The fines depend on how many workers are involved.

What To Avoid To Get Your Salaries On Time

Technically, there is no need for any conditions before you receive your payment as long as you are working properly. However, there are things you need to avoid so your employer will not be forced to hold your salary. Here’s the list:

  • Do not neglect your duties – this means that you have to present during the working days and avoid going AWOL. The more you show that you are ready to leave your position just because of the delay, the more your employer will delay your salary. Even when there is a delay, you need to continue doing your duties and responsibilities as an employee of the company or the employer. Do not make a mistake if you don’t want your employer to file a complaint against you too. Remain professional and you will surely get the salary you deserve.
  • Do not threaten your employer – do not use words that will trigger your employer to report you. Whether it’s online or directly, do not do it because your employer might turn the table and use your posts as proof that you are threatening him/her.
  • No ranting on social media – you should know that the UAE has strict rules and policies in terms of the use of social media not only in the workplace but in the whole country. Do not post anything related to the delay of salary or refusal of your employer to pay your wages. Do not complain online. Complain to authorities and file a case against your employer if you want to resolve it. Posting on social media will only add fire to the already burning situation. Your posts can also be used against you by your employer or by the government.

Being a professional employee is a must in this kind of situation. There are processes that need to be followed to make the settlement faster. If you are a worker who is currently experiencing delays or refusal of payment, we hope that you will follow the guidelines and reminders stated above. Do not forget that even if you are working overseas, you are still holding your brand and image as a person. If things get worst because you cannot hold yourself back from doing unnecessary actions, it will only affect you and your career here in the UAE. Besides not getting your salary, you will only damage your reputation as a professional. Stick to the law and let the authorities punish your employer.

Disclaimer: Information posted here act only as a tip. For updates, always contact proper authorities for assistance. If you are facing challenges at your work, please contact the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) aka UAE Ministry of Labour for guidance. You may also seek assistance from a lawyer regarding your case.

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