Question 1: Six of my employees have filed a labour case against me claiming six months overtime pay. The overtime, they claim, is for two hours daily over a period of six months. The overtime pertains to the time they spend between the company accommodation and their place of work. As per the UAE Labour Law, does travel time to and from work account for working hours or as overtime?
Answer 1: Under the UAE Labour Law, Article 65 states the following: “The maximum normal hours of work of adult workers shall be eight a day or 48 a week. The hours of work may be increased to nine hours a day in commercial establishments, hotels and cafes and of guard duties and any other operations where such increase is authorised by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The daily hours of work may be reduced in the case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
The normal hours of work shall be reduced by two during the month of Ramadan.
The time spent by a worker in traveling between home and place of work cannot be included in the hours of work. The employees in this case have no right to ask for overtime for the commuting hours.
Question 2: I’m the owner of a company and I want to know what is my right under the UAE Labour Law when it comes to imposing disciplinary penalties on an employee.
Answer 2: An employer as per the UAE Labour Law Federal No:(8) Of 1980, Article No. 102 has the right to impose the following disciplinary penalties:
3. Suspension from work with reduced pay for a period not exceeding 10 days
4. Forfeiture or deferment of a periodic increment, in establishment having an increment scheme
5. Forfeiture or promotion, in establishment having a promotion scheme
6. Dismissal without prejudice to severance pay
7. Dismissal with forfeiture of all part of the severance pay. This penalty may only be imposed on the grounds expressly specified in Article 120 of the law.