Dubai: If you are facing salary delays, not only are your rights protected by the UAE’s Labour Law, your employer, too, can face penalties and fines for failing to abide by the UAE’s Wages Protection System (WPS).
Earlier this week, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) announced amendments to certain provisions of WPS, which expanded the scope of monitoring of establishments who are registered in the Ministry’s database.
“Gradual procedures are applied against establishments that employ 50 or more workers, based on the delay in wages payment,” the Ministry said in a post on its official social media channels on July 27.
What action is taken against violating establishments?
On July 27, MOHRE announced that Dr Abdulrahman Abdulmannan Al Awar, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, has issued a new decree making amendments to certain WPS provisions.
Ministerial Resolution No.(346) Of 2022 lists out the following actions, that will be taken against an establishment that fails to pay workers’ wages on their due date:
1. Deadline: On the due date
Action: The establishment will be monitored electronically to ensure its compliance with the payment of wages of its workers.
2. Deadline: On the third and tenth day after the due date
Reminders and notifications will be sent to the non-compliant establishment to pay the wages.
3. Deadline: On the third and 17th day after the due date
Action: Suspension of issuing new work permits for the establishment. A notice stating the reason for the suspension will be sent to the owner of the establishment.
For establishment employing more than 50 workers, it will be listed in the electronic monitoring and inspection system and inspection visits scheduled. An inspector will conduct inspection visits, and issue warnings as necessary.
4. Deadline: 30 days from the due date
For establishment that are employing more than 50 workers, the relevant Public Prosecution will be notified and the establishment information will be sent to the competent authorities at the federal and local level for further legal actions. The establishment will be followed up by the concerned department in the Ministry.
5. Deadline: Four months after the due date
Ban on new work permits remains in effect for the establishment. If the establishment owner operates other exclusive companies with WPS in the UAE, similar penalties will apply to each of them, after notifying the affected establishments about the suspension of worker permits, taking into account the unity of the partners.
6. If the establishment repeats the same violation within six months
The establishment will be liable to the following penalties:
• Administrative fine will be imposed in accordance with Cabinet Resolution No. 21 of 2022.
• Downgrading the establishment to Category (3) in accordance with Ministerial Resolution No.(209) of 2022.
7. Failure to pay a worker’s wage for more than three consecutive months.
• Electronic notification will be sent to the facility
• The ban on new work permits remains in effect.
• Renewal of the work permit of a worker who has not received his wages shall be suspended unless his or her status is duly modified.
• If the failure to pay wages continues, an inspection visit to the facility will be conducted after six months from the date of non-payment, in order to ensure the existence of the employment relationship. In the absence of an actual employment relationship, the violating establishment will be referred to the Public Prosecution and an administrative fine will be imposed in accordance with Cabinet Resolution No. 21 of 2020, further coordination with other concerned authorities will also take place regarding the imposition of relevant fines as per the rules.
Failing to abide by MOHRE’s WPS, companies in the UAE can face steep fines and penalties. According to the Cabinet Resolution No. 21 of 2020, these fines apply for actions involving fraudulent use of the WPS:
If the establishment forces the worker to sign fictitious documents stating that they have received their wages or entering incorrect data into the Wages Protection System:
• Dh5,000 per worker
• Maximum of Dh50,000 in case of multiple workers.
Failure to pay workers’ wages via the Wages Protection System:
• Dh1,000 per worker
• Maximum Dh20,000
How can I approach the Ministry to complain against unpaid salaries?
Employees working with a mainland company can file a ‘secret salary’ complaint by calling on the MOHRE helpline – 600590000, through the ‘MOHRE’ smartphone application or by registering the complaint on MOHRE’s website – mohre.gov.ae.
For legal inquiries and advice, the Ministry has also set up a Labour claims and advisory centre. To contact the centre, to know more about your rights as an employer or an employee, you can call 04 665 9999.