Dubai: Do you find yourself working for longer hours than what was mentioned in your contract. If so, you might be eligible for overtime pay, according to the UAE’s Labour Law and its executive regulations.
However, there are certain factors to consider if you wish to claim an overtime compensation from your employer.
1. Your commute cannot be counted as part of working hours, except in certain cases.
The UAE Labour Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – states in Article 17 (3) that “the periods spent by the worker from the place of residence to the workplace shall not be calculated within the working hours, except for certain categories of workers, according to the controls set by the Executive Regulations of this Decree Law”. So, if you are spending an hour or two travelling to and from the office, it would not typically be included as part of your total working hours.
However, there are exceptions to this stipulation, according to Ayush Hans, Legal Consultant at Connect Legal, an online legal support service.
“Yes, commute time could be a part of working hours but only in limited circumstances,” he said.
He went on to list those circumstances:
a. The time spent by the worker commuting from his home to his work location in case of bad weather and response to the warnings of the National Center of Meteorology about weather changes and disturbances.
b. The time spent by the employee in an employer-provided transport, in the event of a traffic accident or emergency malfunction.
c. If it is expressly stated in the employment contract that the commute time shall be included in the working hours.
Commute time could be a part of working hours but only in limited circumstances.
2. You may not be eligible for overtime
There are also certain categories of workers, depending on the job position or the sector they work in, who are not eligible to overtime.
According to Hans, the following people are excluded:
a. Chairmen and members of Board of Directors.
b. Persons holding supervisory positions, if such positions give the position holders the powers of an employer.
c. Enjoying special conditions of service due to the nature of their work or works whose technical nature necessitates the continuation of work.
d. Consecutive shifts, provided that the average working hours per week do not exceed 56 hours.
e. Preparatory or complementary works that must necessarily be carried out outside the timelines generally established for work at the establishment.
How long should I be working?
“The maximum normal working hours for workers are eight hours per day or 48 hours per week,” Navandeep Matta, Senior Associate at Century Maxim International, told Gulf News.
This does not include a one-hour break that employees are entitled to.
“There can be instances wherein your employer wants you to work overtime to meet certain deadlines or targets. In such cases, Article 19 of the Labour Law will come into effect, wherein it shall be obligatory upon the employer to compensate your work in accordance with the same Article,” he added.
As per the law, an employee can be asked to work for two additional hours per day, unless the conditions fall within a ministerial decree issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE). “In all cases, the total working hours shall not exceed 144 hours every three weeks,” Matta said.
There can be instances wherein your employer wants you to work overtime to meet certain deadlines or targets. In such cases, Article 19 of the Labour Law will come into effect, wherein it shall be obligatory upon the employer to compensate your work in accordance with the same Article.
How much overtime compensation should I get?
The same Article in the Labour Law provides for an employee to receive the basic salary as well as at least 25 per cent of that salary for the additional hours he or she has worked.
In case you work between 10pm to 4am, then the percentage of salary mentioned earlier increases to 50 per cent or more. However, employees under the shift system are excluded from this requirement.
Matta clarified how this would affect a worker: “If my basic monthly salary is Dh3,000 per month, coming down to Dh100 per day, and my employer wants me to work overtime to meet certain deadlines or targets, the employer shall be liable to pay me the day’s salary as well as 25 per cent of that day’s remuneration, that is a total of Dh125 for that particular day,” he said.
He also advised employees to have a written correspondence with their manager for the overtime work done.
What can I do if I am not paid overtime compensation?
In case you are not paid your overtime due in accordance with the Labour Law and its executive regulations, you can reach out to the MOHRE advisory centre on 04 665 9999. To read more about how you can raise any labour complaints, read our guide here.