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Employers must mandatorily pay for overtime

Ashish Mehta
Filed on February 10, 2016 | Last updated on February 10, 2016 at 06.25 am
Employers must mandatorily pay for overtime
Corbis photo

Know your legal rights in the UAE.

I am a chef in a hotel and I have been working here since 2012. I am now a little over 63 years and hence the hotel has not renewed my visa. The HR department has also told me to resign. I would like to ask you if I can get overtime charges for my extra duty hours though I do not have any proof with me. I have a memo copy that the hotel made our duty rota from. The extra duty hours come to 10 hours roughly.

It is understood that you are working as a chef at a hotel in the UAE since 2012 and you are now 63 years old. Further, it is noted that your employer is not willing to renew your employment contract and residence visa and the HR department of your employer has requested you to resign from your current employment. And, you do not possess proof of your overtime duty and it is approximately up to 10 hours per day.

Pursuant to your question, it may be advised that in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law, the maximum normal hours of work has been prescribed as eight hours in a day or 48 hours in a week. The daily working hours may subsequently be increased to nine hours in a day depending on the place or nature of work. During the holy month of Ramadan, it has also been prescribed that the normal time of work should be reduced by two hours. The prescribed working hours are in accordance with the provisions of Article 65 of the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 on the Regulation of Labour Relation ('Labour Law') which states:

"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, hotels and cafes and of guard duties 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 be reduced in the case of arduous or unhealthy operations by order of the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. The time spent on travelling between home and workplace shall not be included in hours of work."

All employees are entitled to receive payments in respect of overtime work. Overtime work is defined as the work that is done more than the normal hours of work. This is in accordance with Article 67 of the Labour Law which states: "Where the circumstances of work require a worker to work more than the normal number of hours any period worked in excess shall be treated as overtime, for which the worker shall receive the remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal hours of work, plus a supplement of at least 25 percent of the remuneration."

Subsequently, Article 68 of the Labour Law States: "Where the circumstances of work require a worker to work overtime between 9pm and 4am he shall be entitled in respect of such overtime to the remuneration stipulated for his normal hours of work, plus a supplement of at least 50 per cent of the remuneration."

Pursuant to the above-mentioned provisions of the Labour Law, it may be advised that you shall be entitled to receive payment in respect of any/all overtime work that you may be engaged in the course of your employment. In case your employer denies to pay your overtime work payment, then you may consider approaching the office of the Ministry of Labour with respect to your grievances along with the relevant documentary evidences you possess.

I am a Belgian civilian living in Antwerp and my Estonian girlfriend is living in Dubai. She wants to leave to Belgium but unfortunately she cannot because there is an absconding case against her and she has also overstayed.

The company mentioned her services were no longer required (but in the meantime tried to harass her sexually) and they made her resign. She did and returned the labour card and gave the passport so they could cancel the visa. After that she would have 30 days to leave the country. However, they did not provide the return tickets (which they were legally supposed to) and she could not leave and they filed an absconding case. She wanted to cooperate with them to lift this case but they ignored all requests. Meanwhile, she started work for another company thinking that they had applied for a new visa but in reality they never did. That's where the overstay started. I would like to check on what the options are including possible fees or fines to be paid given the overstay (roughly two years). She has been living in Dubai now for three years. Is it possible to cancel the absconding case by paying a certain fee?

It is understood that you are a Belgian civilian living in Antwerp and that your Estonian girlfriend is living in Dubai. Further, we understand that your girlfriend is eager to join you in Belgium but cannot due to an absconding case.

Her company had mentioned that her services were no longer required and it is alleged that the employer tried to harass her sexually. It is understood that the company had requested your girlfriend to return her labour card and hand over the passport to cancel her residence visa upon her resignation and we assume that her employer cancelled her residence visa.

The employer failed to provide return air ticket to your girlfriend to leave the UAE and due to her overstay in UAE the employer filed an absconding case against her. Meanwhile your girlfriend started to work for another company without valid work permit and it is further assumed that the prospective employer were not able to provide her a new work permit and residence visa due to absconding case filed by her employer.

It may be advised that in the UAE, cases pertaining to absconding or escaped employees are regulated by the Ministerial Resolution No. 721 for 2006 'On Escape Report Procedures' (the "Ministerial Order"). Pursuant to this, an absconding circular results in a labour ban. This is in accordance with the Eleventh Article of the Ministerial Order which states: "Any worker whose work relationship ended in escape, and against whom a final escape circular was issued, shall be permanently deprived from working in the state in accordance with the provisions of this resolution."

A labour ban resulting out of an 'escape circular' usually restricts an individual from taking up an employment anywhere in the UAE for a certain period or indefinitely and absconding individual may be deported by the UAE authorities if he or she fails to prove that his or her absconding report filed by the employer is false and far from truth.

However, in this case, your girl friend did not exit the UAE after cancellation of her visa and chose to illegally work here without a proper visa. Therefore she may not be able to get the penalty amount waived. However, she may request the authorities to reduce the penalty amount by pleading that her previous employer filed an absconding case against incorrectly as she was in regular contact with her previous employer who misused the provisions of law by filing a case against her.

She may further explain to the authorities that her previous employer failed to provide her with an air ticket to exit the UAE.

You may take the assistance of a legal practitioner in the UAE who may provide you the necessary information and counselling regarding the approximate fine to be borne by you for the overstay and for any further legal assistance.

Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: news@khaleejtimes.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.





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