UAE Labor Law – New provisions to safeguard workers

In recent time, UAE took steps to improve labor standards and conditions for its workers to include adjustments to work shifts, leaves and wages. Many revisions were prompted by the scrutiny of employment complaints with a number of operatives protesting against delays to the payment of their salaries, low wages and a lack of overtime pay.

One of the issues that comes up frequently regards salary standards. As told Khaleej Times, “there is no minimum salary stipulated in the UAE Labor Law, however, it broadly mentions that salaries must cover basic needs of the employees […] For any concerns or complaints regarding the salary, employees can contact the MoHRE or lodge a complaint through eNetwasal.”

At the present time, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said the government has no plans to introduce a minimum wage for employees but has taken steps to safeguard domestic workers including a federal law to guarantee the payment of salaries on time, with minimum hours of rest to include mandatory midday breaks for laborers during the peak summer months. Among the key details of the new law is the regulation of four key areas: contracts, rights and privileges, prohibitions and recruitment agencies. The provisions aim to place UAE domestic worker rights in line with the wider workforce, said minister of human resources and emiratisation HE Saqr Ghobash.

The new law “is designed to guarantee basic rights including the payment of salaries within 10 days of being due, the entitlement of one day’s rest per week and 12 hours of rest per day and 30 days of paid vacation a year,” reports Gulf News. Daily working hours must not exceed eight per shift and, of course, overtime pay is due for any additional time on duty. Another important provision is the need for registration of recruiting agencies.

In addition to labor law offering greater rights and protections, the UAE’s Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation announced the opening of new centers for hiring domestic workers in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman under a public private partnership to ensure workers know their contractual entitlements.

Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Judicial Department has set up a new special prosecution unit to try cases involving the abuse of domestic workers. As Gulf News reports “employers and recruiters can be fined up to Dhs100,000 ($27,226) for crimes including discrimination, harassment, forced labor and abuse of workers.”

In recent times, the Ministry of Human Resources postponed (from the first of April till further notice) the requirement of a good conduct certificate for foreign workers to fill urgent vacancies in the country. The document which became mandatory for workers in February this year does apply to those in the country that are seeking new employment and/or switching jobs.

And what is getting done for Emiratis looking for new work? Many had the opportunity to attend a three-day event last month that was organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre, in partnership with TANMIA (Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation) which sought to increase the number of Emiratis in the labor sector, particularly in private corporations across various fields. Those in attendance had the occasion to see some of the companies participating in its Careers Fair. Are you looking to change job? Monitor vacancies on regularly not to miss any opportunities.

UAE Labor Law - New provisions to safeguard workers

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