What to do if UAE employer doesn't pay allowance on time
Partial payment of salary is illegal in UAE.
Question: I am currently employed in an electrical and contracting company under an unlimited contract. My remuneration is split into two parts: basic salary and cash allowance. I have been receiving my basic salary on time. However, my employer has not been paying my cash allowance regularly - which has now been due for four months. How do I recover the cash component of the salary due to me by your employer?
Answer: Pursuant to your query, we assume that you are employed by a company based in the mainland of UAE and therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. (8) of 1980 regulating employment relations in the UAE (the 'Employment Law') and Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016 concerning the protection of wages (the 'Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016') are applicable.
Article 1 of the Employment Law defines remuneration as: "Any consideration, in cash or in kind, given to an employee, in return for his service under an employment contract, whether on yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, piecemeal, output or commission basis. The remuneration shall include the cost of living allowance. It shall also include any grant given to an employee as a reward for his honesty or efficiency, provided such amounts are stipulated in the employment contract or in the firm's internal regulations or are being so customarily granted that the employees regard them as part of their remuneration and not as donations."
As per the provisions of the Employment Law, it may be noted that an employee shall be remunerated at least once a month. This is in accordance with Article 56 of the Employment Law which states: "Employees engaged on yearly or monthly salary shall be paid remuneration at least once a month; all other workers shall be paid at least once every two weeks." Therefore, if your employer only remunerates you partially, it may be considered as a non-payment of salary by an employer which is a violation of the Employment Law.
If an employer does not remunerate an employee within one month of the salary becoming due, it shall be considered as a refusal of the employer to remunerate the staff. This is in accordance with Article 1(b) of Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016, which states: "The employer shall be deemed late in remunerating his employee unless he pays the salary within the first 10 days as of maturity date, and shall be deemed as refusing to pay the salary unless he pays it within one month as of the maturity date, unless a less term is set/provided in the contract."
In view of the foregoing, you may file a complaint against your employer with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) concerning the non-payment of salary for the last four months. Further, while complaining, you may inform MOHRE that you intend to continue with the current employment and your demands are only related to settlement of outstanding salaries which are not paid to you.
Know the law
If an employer does not remunerate an employee within one month of the salary becoming due, it shall be considered as a refusal of the employer to remunerate the staff
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: email@example.com or send them to Legal View, Khaleej Times, PO Box 11243, Dubai.