‘Can my employer halve my salary to cover accidental damage?’

Under the UAE labour law, companies can only deduct an amount that does not exceed five days of wages per month

Photo taken in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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I work in an engineering company and made a silly mistake that caused some damage to a machine. It was an accident and I apologised, but my boss says they will charge me for repairs and cut 50 per cent of my salary for three months to pay for it.

I cannot manage to live on this low amount as I have a family to support, but the company won’t accept my suggestion to deduct a lower amount for a longer time.

Is there anything I can do as I am worried that I will not be able to pay my car loan and my regular bills? AP, Sharjah

No employer is permitted to simply halve an employee’s salary payments. This company is acting illegally and not in accordance with the new UAE labour law.

Article 25 of the law, titled Cases of Deduction or Withhold from the Worker’s Wage, clarifies the few situations where deductions can be made legally and by what amount.

“No amount may be deducted or withheld from the worker’s wage except in the following cases: amounts deducted from the worker due to violations he commits, according to the regulation of penalties in force at the establishment and approved by the Ministry, provided that they shall not exceed five per cent of the wage,” the law says.

“Amounts necessary to rectify the damage caused by the worker, as a result of his mistake or violation of the employer’s instructions, which led to the destruction, demolition or loss of tools, machines, products or materials owned by the employer, provided that the deducted amounts do not exceed the wage of five days per month. It is not permissible to deduct an amount greater than that except with the approval of the competent court.”

We could assume that the employer is unaware of the law, which would not be uncommon, so the first step is to point out the law and what is permitted.

If they insist on making illegal deductions, AP should register a case against the employer with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation. This can be done by telephone (600 590000) or through its website and app.

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Watch: New UAE labour law comes into effect

I am in Dubai on a three-month visit visa from India. I have an international driving licence. Am I allowed to drive a private car? SA, Dubai

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has given guidance on this matter. It says: “If you are on a visit to the UAE and holding a valid international driving licence, accordingly you can rent a car or drive a car registered to your name or one of your first degree relatives.”

The generally used term is an International Driving Permit.

This means that a visitor to the UAE can only drive a vehicle that is owned by a first degree relative, which means a parent, a child, a brother or sister.

If the private car referred to is not owned by one of these relatives, SA is not permitted to drive it legally and can only drive a hire car.

To ensure that someone is properly insured, it is wise for anyone who wants to permit a suitable close relative to drive their vehicle to receive confirmation from their insurance company. This should be confirmed in writing, although an email should be fine.

I have been living in Muscat, Oman, for a few years and will be transferring to my company's Dubai office. We have a family dog and I would like to know how I can bring her to the UAE.

Can I drive her across the border or are there expensive complications to be dealt with? QM, Muscat

This is not a subject I am familiar with, so I sought advice from Kate Lindley, owner of Paw Pals Dubai, a company specialising in pet sitting and relocations.

“It is possible to drive across the border with your dog — it needs to be microchipped, fully vaccinated and have a rabies antibody test done as Oman is listed as a high-risk country,” Ms Lindley said.

“You will need to apply for an import permit, which can be obtained online. You need to be a UAE resident to import pets. Alternatively, a pet relocation company can issue the import permit on your behalf. The cost of the import permit is Dh200 per dog or cat, plus a Dh500 release fee.”

Keren Bobker is an independent financial adviser and senior partner with Holborn Assets in Dubai, with more than 25 years’ experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only

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Labour law changes in pictures

Updated: October 09, 2022, 5:00 AM
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