Question: I work in a mainland firm in Dubai. I read about work hours being reduced by two hours for the private sector during the holy month of Ramadan. However, we will need to work the usual hours as it’s impossible to complete our job otherwise. In such cases, how should we be compensated? Is there a limit to the overtime we can avail?
Response: Pursuant to your queries, the provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Employment Law') and those of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 Concerning the Executive Regulations of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations (the 'Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on Employment Relations') are applicable.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (the ‘MOHRE’) on March 15, 2022, announced that the hours of working for private sector is reduced by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan. Further, Article 15 (2) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on Employment Relations states that "Normal working hours shall be reduced by (2) two hours during the holy month of Ramadan."
Based on the aforementioned announcement by MOHRE and provision of law, you, as an employee in the private sector, are entitled to work two hours less during the holy month. However, your employer may employ you for additional working hours, provided such overtime should not exceed two hours in a day, unless the work is necessary to avoid any serious loss or accident. The total number of working hours may not extend more than 144 hours in three weeks. This is in accordance with Article 15 (3) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.
Further, you may not be eligible for any overtime pay if your designation in your employment is of manager or supervisor or your work involves any technical requirements. This is in accordance with Article 15(4) (b) & (d) of the Cabinet Resolution No. 2022, which states: “The following categories shall be excluded from the provisions of maximum working hours:
b. Persons holding supervisory positions, if such positions give their holders powers of the Employer
d. Works whose technical nature necessitates the continuation of work through consecutive shifts, provided that the average working hours per week do not exceed (56) hours.”
Therefore, you, as an employee, may be entitled to overtime pay if you do not come under the purview of aforementioned provision of law.
In the event you are eligible for overtime, then you may request your employer for additional pay. It should be noted that any number of additional hours of employment other than the working hours which are specially stipulated for holy month of Ramadan shall be considered as overtime.
In the event of overtime work, your employer shall pay you 25 per cent additional on your basic pay, in accordance with Article 19(2) of the Employment Law, which states: “If the work circumstances require that the employee employed for hours exceeding the ordinary working hours, such extended time shall be deemed overtime for which the employee shall be paid his basic wage for his normal hours of work plus a supplement of at least 25 per cent of that wage.”
In the event you are eligible for overtime pay and your employer does not pay you, you may approach the MOHRE and file a complaint. However, the onus is on you to prove with relevant documentary evidence that you have worked overtime than the usual hours of work during the holy month of Ramadan.
Ashish Mehta is the founder and Managing Partner of Ashish Mehta & Associates. He is qualified to practise law in Dubai, the United Kingdom and India. Full details of his firm on: www.amalawyers.com. Readers may e-mail their questions to: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.
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