The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation carried out 485,000 inspection visits to private sector facilities across the UAE between January and October Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) on Wednedsay announced it carried out more than 485,000 inspection visits to private sector facilities across the UAE between January and October.

This included 1,623 inspection visits in cooperation with six government entities, while the number of community reports handled during the 10-month period was 667 cases. The inspection visits found 26,104 cases of violation of the Labour Relations Law and its executive regulations. Legal actions were taken against the violating entities and relevant fines were imposed.

Mohsen Al Nassi, Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Inspection Affairs at MoHRE, said: “The Ministry attaches great importance to strengthening the supervisory mechanisms and inspections of private sector facilities and raising their awareness on the implementation of the Labour Relations Law and its executive resolutions.”

He added: “This is aimed at guaranteeing the rights of both parties, employers and employees, who are involved to have seamless, balanced labour relations and enhancing the stability and prosperity of the UAE labour market. This is also focused on enhancing the UAE as a favourite destination to work, in line with the vision of the UAE’s wise leadership and reinforcing the country’s reputation as an incubator for national and qualified global skills to contribute to building the economy of the future.”

Al Nassi continued: “The inspection visits are based on transparency and impartiality by the ministry’s inspectors, who have a deep understanding of the laws regulating labour relations and the executive regulations, especially in terms of the rights and duties of employers as well as the workers. Their visits build awareness on the importance of compliance with the legislations by both parties and link the impact of the labour inspection to achieving the sustainable development goals.”

The ministry’s inspectors have the legal authority to issue violation tickets against non-compliant entities and prepare reports that clarify the committed legal violations, he said.

What were the violations?

The violations detected during the inspections included 2,973 cases of non-compliance with payment of wages – which were referred to the Public Prosecution; 178 cases where employers held back workers’ passports - 132 of which were settled and passports returned to workers.

The violations also included cases where recruitment fees were deducted from workers’ salaries. Two such cases were referred to the Public Prosecution. The ministry’s proactive inspection system detected 48 cases of violations which were referred to the judicial and relevant authorities. Two cases of sexual harassment were also reported. Besides this, 30 other cases involved workers signing fake documents of having received their wages and incorrect data entered in the Wage Protection System (WPS) to circumvent the provisions.

The ministry imposed administrative fines on violations detected during the inspection visits, which included 22,087 cases of non-compliance with the procedures for issuing work permit contracts and facilities that do not practice their licensed activities; 21 cases of practicing activities of coordination and of employment agencies without the requisite licence; and 14 cases of non-compliance with the approved standards of labour accommodations.

Apart from this, 165 cases of non-compliance were detected where companies were not ensuring the relevant work environment for workers in open areas and non-adherence to work conditions in summer – particularly during the mid-day break period from June 15 to September 15.

Additionally, 17 cases were identified where the ministry was not notified about work injuries, occupational diseases or death of a worker during duty, along with 567 cases of submitting incorrect documentations.

The Acting Assistant Undersecretary for Inspection Affairs praised the commitment of most employers to the labour market legislation, which “confirms their awareness of the impact of these legislations, especially in terms of stabilising the work relationship and increasing overall productivity”.

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Aim of inspections

The inspection visits carried out by the ministry’s inspectors aim to instill and adhere to principles, culture and work ethics as a civilised value that contributes to building institutions, providing job opportunities and increasing production and performance efficiency, which contributes to achieving the development of institutions, guaranteeing the rights of workers and business owners, as well as ensuring the application of legal provisions related to working conditions and protection of workers during their work, and inspecting the implementation of occupational health and safety requirements and labour housing and occupational safety standards in coordination with the relevant authorities.

The inspection sector at the ministry works on evaluating the cases that are committed for non-compliance with the provisions of Federal Decree-Law No. 33 of 2021 regarding the regulation of Labour Relations and its executive regulations and relevant decisions. The sector carries out inspection campaigns of all kinds according to specific time schedules to achieve continuous review of the establishments’ commitment in implementing the provisions of the law, in cooperation with various government entities.

The sector is also committed to verify and follow up on cases referred to it by other departments and authorities, following up on the cancellation of violations committed by entities, and taking necessary actions against violators.

Inspectors’ powers

The authority of the labour inspectors is determined in accordance with the executive regulations of the law to enter any facility subject to the law regulating labour relations at any time for the purpose of inspection and summoning the employer or their representative to come to the facility’s headquarters, labour accommodation or the ministry.

The inspectors have the right to carry out examinations or investigations necessary to verify the safety of implementing the legal obligations of the employer, question the employer or workers individually or in the presence of witnesses, review the documents and data that the employer must keep and obtain a print-out if necessary, take samples of materials used or circulated in industrial processes and other works subject to inspection, which are believed to have a harmful effect on the health or safety of workers.

The inspector may, if necessary, request a medical examination of the workers in the facility and conduct medical laboratory research to ensure the suitability of work conditions and their impact on the health and preventive levels of workers.

Types of inspections

The inspections are divided into 12 tasks or types, including following up on the work of nationals working in the private sector, adhering to the terms and controls for paying wages, following up on facilities that have dangerous indicators, adhering to the terms and controls of the Labour Relations Law, following up on work injuries, and adhering to the terms and controls of labour housing.

It also includes ensuring compliance with the conditions and controls of work during hot weather conditions, following up on private recruitment agencies and the resulting working conditions, and assessing cases of suspected human trafficking, forced labour and sexual harassment. The ministry’s inspectors are also entitled to conduct inspection visits to follow up on closed facilities that do not practice their licensed activities, to make sure whether the facilities are operating, as well as the status of registered workers in accordance with legislation and regulations.

Reporting violations

The Ministry has provided a number of channels that allow workers, employers and the community to report any violations to take the necessary actions to ensure the enforcement of the law and preserve the interests of both parties to the contractual relationship, by communicating with the call center on 600590000, or through the ministry’s smart app or website.