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Q: I am a nurse in a private clinic. The doctor asked me to work from 8am to 2pm and from 3pm to 9.30pm. As far as I know, the UAE labour law says workers in the private sector should be made to work only for eight hours a day. Can I ask for overtime for the hours which I work over and above the stipulated eight hours? And what should I do in case the doctor refuses to pay for the extra hours I've worked?
Answer: Article No. 65 of the Labour Law No. 8 of 1980 and its amendments stipulates that "the maximum normal hours of work of adult workers shall be eight a day or 48 a week. The hours of work may be increased to nine hours a day in commercial establishments like hotels and wages of those on guard duty and any other operations where such increase is authorised by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The daily hours of work may by reduced in the case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The normal hours of work shall be reduced by two during the month of holy month of Ramadan."
As well, Article No. 67 of the law stipulates: "Where the circumstances of the work require a worker to work more than the normal numbers of hours, the period worked in excess shall be treated as overtime, for which the worker shall receive remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal hours of work, plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of the remuneration."
Based on these articles the maximum number of working hours is eight hours a day or 48 hours a week. The time consumed in transportation to and from the work is not counted within the working hours. The nurse is entitled for an overtime pay for the extra hours she is working. She should be paid what is equal to her wage of one hour in addition to a supplement of at least 25 per cent of the remuneration.
Islamic law and foreigners
Q: Is the UAE "Islamic Sharia Law" also applicable to the non-Muslim expatriate?
Ans: The UAE law in its different types is the only reference for specifying relations whenever required and in case there was a confusion regarding which law should be applied.
Basically, expatriates should be subject to their home countries' laws that govern issues such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. Expatriates involved in such cases should insist on the court to apply their home countries' laws and subsequently they should submit an authenticated copy of that law.
Should the involved expatriate fail to submit the relevant law of his home country or failed to submit proof of such a law, courts in the UAE have no other way than in applying the UAE law which is based on the Islamic Sharia.
Hamdan Al Harmi is an Advocate and Legal Consultant from Emirates Advocates. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers who have legal queries may email their questions to email@example.com or post them to Khaleej Times P.O. box 11243 to "Ask the Law" column. Khaleej Times will forward the questions to the lawyer.
— Compiled by Eman Al Baik
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