UAE: 6 common labour violations you should report to MOHRE

Estimated read time 8 min read

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6 common labour issues to report to MOHRE

The UAE Labour Law ensures that employees are guaranteed their rights in the emirate. However, there are still companies that resort to malpractices to take advantage of unknowing employees.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has urged employees to report such companies that violate labour laws.

In a recent post, MOHRE identified six common labour malpractices that employees must immediately report to the authority:

Employer keeps your passport, Emirates ID

Your passport and identification documents, including Emirates ID, are official documents that must be with you at all times. Under the UAE law, it is illegal to withhold someone’s passport or official identification documents without their consent. The offence is punishable with a jail sentence and a fine of up to Dh20,000. Complaints can also be filed at the police station.

Employers may only hold their employees’ passports for official purposes, such as applying, renewing or cancelling a visa. However, after this is completed, the employer must return the passport or Emirates ID to the employee.

Company charges you for cost of visa, airfare, work permit

There have been reports of companies and recruitment agencies charging employees for the cost of their employment visa, airfare and work permit. This is illegal. Under UAE law, employers must bear the cost of employment, including the cost of visa sponsorship for their employee. No employer is allowed to withhold any amount from an employee’s salary or deduct visa fees or any other charges related to employment.

Your contract terms is different from the job offer

If you have been asked to sign a contract that has different terms from the job offer explained to you, then you must report this to MOHRE. The offer letter is registered with the ministry to allow the employer to apply for an employment visa for the employee. The employment offer must conform with MOHRE’s standard employment contract and duly signed by both the employer and employee. No new clauses may be added to the standard employment contract with the approval of the ministry. Violating employers will be fined Dh20,000.

You did not receive a copy of your employment offer

You should be given a copy of your employment offer so you can review the terms and sign it.
Under MOHRE rules, the employment offer must be signed by both the employer and employee. If proven that the employee did not go through the employment offer terms before signing the labour contract, the employer will be fined Dh20,000 for submitting incorrect data to the ministry.

Delayed or incomplete salary payment

If you don’t receive your full salary on time, then you can file a complaint against your employer at MOHRE. Private sector employers should ensure to pay their staff’s salaries through the Wages Protection System (WPS) to avoid penalties and fines. The employer is in default of paying the wage if he or she does not pay it within the first 15 days after the due date, unless a shorter period has been agreed in the employment contract. If the salary due date is not specified in the employment contract, the employee must be paid at least once a month.

You are unable to leave your job as desired

Under the UAE law, employees may not be forced to work extra hours without pay. Under the UAE labour law, the maximum work hours in the private sector is 8 hours per day or 48 hours per week. During Ramadan, working hours are reduced by two hours. If the nature of the work requires overtime, the extra work hours must not exceed two hours per day, and the employee should be paid a day’s salary plus 25 per cent of that pay. Overtime pay could increase to 50 percent if overtime is done between 10pm and 4am. This rule does not apply to employees who work on basis of shifts. Employees who are asked to work on their day off must be given a substitute rest day or a day’s salary plus 50 percent of that pay.

Employers may also not prevent their employees from resigning. Under the UAE labour law, either the employer or employee can terminate the employment contract for any “legitimate reason:, provided that a written notification is given to the other party and the terminating party serves a notice of at least 30 days.

How to file a labour complaint in UAE

According to MOHRE, complaints from private sector employees can be filed through the Labor Claims and Advisory Center on 0097146659999, through the MOHRE app (choose Menu, Services, and Complaint), or through the MOHRE website (click here) ICA/Expat Media


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