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Overtime payment

Question: I have been working for more than two years in a contracting company on an unlimited contract. My contract states that the working day is eight hours, but for the last six months, I have had to work one extra hour a day as overtime, but without any extra payment. The company informed everyone that as per UAE Labour Law, a contracting company has the right to increase one working hour a day without any payment for overtime. Do I have the right to claim overtime? Also, we spend two hours a day travelling to and from work. Can I claim that time as overtime as well?

Answer: Article 65 of the UAE Labour Law states: ‘The maximum normal hours of work of adult workers shall be eight hours 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 guard duties and any other operations where such increase is authorised by order of the Ministry of Labour. The daily hours of work may be reduced in case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Ministry of Labour. The normal hours of work shall be reduced by two during Ramadan. The period spent by a worker in travelling between home and place of work shall not be included in his hours of work.” Therefore, the employer has violated the above article and if the employer refused to pay for one hour of overtime [daily], the questioner should file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour in this regard. Finally, as per the above mentioned details, the employee has no right to claim for overtime pay for the period spent in travelling between home and place of work.

Suspension from work

Question: If an employee gets temporarily suspended from work due to a criminal case, but if the court later finds him or her not guilty, does the employee have the right to claim full salary for the period of suspension, and is the period of suspension included when calculating end-of-service benefits?

Answer: Article 112 of the UAE Labour Law as amended by Federal Law No 12 dated 29/10/1986 states the following: ‘The worker may be temporarily suspended from work upon the charging thereof [in] a deliberate crime against life, property, honour, honesty or of carrying out a strike. The suspension period shall commence on the date of the notification of the incident to the competent authorities and until the issuance of a decision thereby in such regard. The worker shall not be entitled to his wage during the said suspension period. Should a decision be issued for the non-prosecution or the acquittal of the worker, the latter shall be reinstated and paid the full wage for the suspension period. The employee/worker is not entitled to any pay for the suspension period. If a decision or court order is handed down determining the acquittal of the employee/worker then he should be reinstated and compensated for the entire period if suspension is established to be on malicious basis on the part of the employer. Such entitlement of the pay purports that suspension is malicious. The onus of proof of such malice rests on the employee/worker. It is established by the Supreme Court that the evaluation of the malicious suspension is left to the discretion of the Court of Merits, without any review once its judgement is built on sound permissible grounds duly supported in the documents. Finally, as per the Labour Law and above-mentioned Article, in case the suspended employee is found not guilty by the concerned court, he is entitled to get his pending salary for the full suspension period and such period is considered when calculating the employee’s end of service.’

- Ask the Law questions are answered by lawyer Mohammad Ebrahim Al Shaiba of Al Shaiba Advocates and Legal Consultants.