1. In case of a dispute between the employee and the employer, how can either of them proceed with a case?

In case of a dispute between the employee and the employer, or either, an application must be made, should either of the party fail to settle the dispute, to the labour office in the emirate in which the employer's establishment is located. The application must be made by written complaint with the complaint department at the labour office, setting out a summary of the facts, calculation of the amount due, and enclosing a copy of the labour contract. The application will be filed with the Ministry upon collection of Dhs. 100 as registration fees. Either the employer or the employee will be summoned to hear the argument at the labour office, and at the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs must make the recommendation within two weeks from the date on which the application is filed. Should the party still fail to settle the dispute as recommended by the Labour Office, the matter will then have to be referred to court to be litigated in the normal matter. In such a case, the Labour Office will issue summary of the case, the facts of the case, and the memorandum together with the recommendation, and the argument put by either party. The court, within 3 days from the date on which application is received, shall schedule a hearing date and summon the other party to hear the matter.

2. Should the application to the labour office and the court be made within a time limit?

A complaint by either the employer or the employee must be made to the labour office within one year from the date on which the amount or the entitlement becomes due. In other words, the one year time period, is not from the date the employment is terminated, but from any date an amount become due and not paid. A complaint therefore must be filed within a year from the date on which such an amount becomes due, otherwise, it will be time barred.

In calculating time and period according to this law, the Gregorian calendar will be used. The year is calculated as 365 days and the month 30 days.

3. Is the employer or the employee have to pay court fees if the matter was referred to court?

Employees are exempted from court fees and his action will be filed in court and if an appeal is filed, to the appeal court, without having to pay any court fees. However, an employer, if he would like to proceed with the court action, should the matter fail to settle at the labour office, must pay court fees, which are normally based at a percentage of the amount claimed.

4. Is there a different rule for the complaint filed by a group of employees against one employer?

The law provides slightly different provision for hearing claims by the Labour Office for a number of employees of the same establishment, filing a complaint against their employer. It may take longer to be settled at the Labour Office and the Labour Office may form a committee to settle such a dispute.