You can file a complaint against employer for unpaid commission
Employee shall be entitled to a remuneration in return for the work the employee performs under the employment contract.
Q: I have been working as a business development manager in a sole proprietorship company since 2014 on an unlimited duration employment contract. Apart from my salary, I earn commission based on the percentage of sales. I had been receiving commission until 2016. However, since 2017 my employer has not paid me the amount till date. Recently, I received a commission sheet from my employer with different terms and conditions wherein the calculations were reduced. For the period 2017 to 2019, the commission due from my employer is approximately Dh150,000.
But because of the new terms and conditions, my employer is only approving Dh30,000. Can my employer change the terms and conditions pertaining to the commission due to me? How can I lodge a complaint against my employer? Can my employer terminate my employment contract for filing a complaint?
A: Pursuant to your queries, 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') shall be applicable.
As per the provisions of the Employment Law, it may be noted that an employee shall be entitled to a remuneration in return for the work the employee performs under the employment contract. This is in accordance with the definition of remuneration in Article 1 of the Employment Law which states: "All payments are made to the employee on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, piece work, or production or commission basis, in return for the work he performs under the contract of employment, whether such payments are made in cash or kind.
Remuneration shall include the cost of living allowance. It shall also include any grant given to the employee as a reward for his honesty or efficiency if such amounts are provided for in the contract or have been granted by custom."
It may, therefore, be noted that the payment of a commission is generally at the discretion of the employer unless the employment contract specifically mentions payment of commission along with the basis on which it is calculated and paid. You have mentioned that you receive your salary and commission based on the percentage of sales. However, you have stated that your employer has communicated the terms and conditions of your commission structure by email and we assume that this was in the year 2014. Therefore, based on such terms and conditions, you may be entitled to your commission as agreed in 2014. Further, any changes to the terms and conditions of your commission structure may not have retrospective effect. The new terms and conditions of the structure may be applicable from the day such communication is made to you in writing or email. Further, for any changes in commission structure, there may be no requirement of consent from the employee as granting commission is at the discretion of the employer.
If your employer terminates your employment contract on the grounds of you filing a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiritisation (MOHRE), it may be considered as an arbitrary termination. This is in accordance with Article 122 of the Employment Law.
You may file a complaint against your employer with the MOHRE concerning the non-payment of commission since 2017. Further, you may inform MOHRE that you intend to continue with the current employment and your demands are only related to settlement of outstanding commission which are not paid to you.
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