Pay for overtime work
Question: I work in a store at a mall for 12 hours a day, including weekends. The employer does not pay me extra wage for overtime work and tells me that working in malls does not include an additional salary for the worker. My question is, am I legally entitled, according to the new labor law, to request additional wages? How is the extra wage calculated? Do I legally have the right to refuse to work on my day off? Does the employer have the right to prevent me from taking all of my annual leave? Please advise
Answer: The daily working hours should be defined in the labour contract. If the employee works extra hours than those defined in the contract then he/she is entitled to get paid for working overtime. Article 17 of Federal Decree-Law No. (33) Of 2021 regulating labor relations, defines working hours per day in the private sector as eight working hours per day, or 48 hours per week. Those daily working hours can be increased or reduced for some economic sectors or some categories of employment, in addition to working hours, rest and hours during which it is prohibited to work for certain categories of workers, according to the employment classification that is specified in the executive regulations of the decree.
Article 19 of UAE Labour Law
As per Article 19 of the law (The employer may instruct the worker to work overtime over the normal working hours, provided that they do not exceed two hours per day. The worker may not be instructed to work for more than that period. In all cases, the total working hours shall not exceed (144) one hundred and forty four hours every (3) three weeks.
If the work conditions necessitate that the worker works for more than the normal working hours, the excess period shall represent overtime, for which the worker shall receive a wage equal to the wage corresponding to the normal working hours, which is calculated according to the basic wage plus an increase of not less than (25%) twenty five per cent of that wage. If the work conditions require that the worker works overtime between 10pm and 4am, the worker shall be entitled, regarding the overtime, to receive the wage prescribed for the normal working hours calculated according to the basic wage plus an increase of not less than (50%) fifty per cent of that wage. The workers working based on shifts shall be excluded from this clause.
The employee is entitled to refuse to work more than two executive weekend days as per Article 19 of the new law which states: “A worker shall not be instructed to work for more than two consecutive weekend days, except for day workers. If the circumstances require that the worker works on the weekend specified in the employment contract or work regulation, he shall be compensated with another day off or he shall be paid the wage of that day according to the wage established for normal working days, plus an increase of not less than (50%) fifty per cent of the basic wage for that day.”
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The employer may not prevent the worker from benefiting from his annual leave accrued for more than two years, unless the worker wishes to carry it forward or receive a cash allowance for it, in accordance with the regulations in force at the establishment and the Implementing regulation. But the employer may specify the dates of these leaves according to work requirements and in agreement with the worker, or grant them alternately among the establishment’s workers, in order to secure its work progress. The employer shall notify the worker of the specified date for his leave within a sufficient time of not less than a month.