Is it illegal to pay men more than women in the UAE for the same role?

The Abu Dhabi resident has discovered her male colleagues are earning more than her

Business colleagues seen through glass. Professionals are discussing in meeting. They are standing at workplace.

I work for a mainland company in Abu Dhabi and recently found out the men are being paid more than the women employees for exactly the same work. This is despite many of the women working for the company longer. Some men are being paid 30 per cent more than their female colleagues. There is no overtime or any difference that we can see. The female employees think this is unfair but we would like to know what the law says before we speak to our boss. Is there anything we can do to make our situation better? CG, Abu Dhabi

The UAE has made it clear that discrimination is not permitted for multiple reasons and not only is this covered in Federal Decree Law No. 2 of 2015 On Combatting Discrimination and Hatred, UAE Labour Law has included this since it was first issued in 1980. Article 32 of the law states: “The female worker shall be granted a wage equal to that of the man should she be performing the same work.” The UAE does not have a specific equal pay act but this clause and other legislation makes it quite clear that equal pay should apply for equal work.

I suggest CG makes management aware of the law, as many are not up to speed on the the facts and if that makes no difference, she, and her colleagues, have the option to register a case with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

You recently wrote about medical insurance in Dubai continuing after visa cancellation. You wrote that in Dubai the law states that validity should extend for 30 days beyond the visa cancellation period. I can't seem to find where the law states this. Can you please point me to the law where it states the 30-day period? ZN, Dubai

This information is part of an announcement by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in General Circular Number 5 of 2017 (GC 05/2017) which follows on from, and forms part of Health Insurance Law (No 11 of 2013) of the emirate of Dubai. There is a section in this on coverage of members post deletion (meaning after leaving service) and this says: "As stated in 'General Circular 09 of 2016' pertaining to individual refunds, DHA had stated that individually sponsored domestic helpers must be covered for 30 days after the cancellation of the policy. Going forward the same requirement will apply to all members insured under group policies. Therefore, for a group policy with a January 1 2017 inception date, and a December 31 expiry date, if a deletion request was sent on June 1 2017, the member would be covered until July 1. However, if a deletion request was received on December 15 2017 the member would only be covered until the expiry of the policy."
To clarify, all employees on Dubai visas should be insured for a further 30 days after visa cancellation unless the company insurance policy expires sooner. DHA publishes circulars on their website, in the Media Centre section, in both Arabic and English, and the onus is on an employer to be aware of any rule changes.

I left Dubai in August without cancelling the work visa and that visa expired in November. Now I am going to Dubai on a visit visa. Is there going to be any problem? UH, India

It is the responsibility of the employer or sponsor to cancel an employment visa and it is understood that UH left without giving notice to his employer. UAE visas do not actually expire, even if the end date has passed, and they must be properly cancelled by the relevant Immigration Department.

If UH did leave the UAE with his employer’s permission he needs to contact the employer to ask them to cancel it in the Government system as on attempting to re-enter the UAE, via any airport, he will be detained at immigration. When visas are cancelled, there can be substantial delays and fees to pay so it is far better that the employer deals with the problem. It UH left the UAE without the employer’s permission, he is most likely to have been registered as an absconder, not least as an employer is required to do so and would need to do this to get a refund of the employment deposit. If that is the case, the visa should have been cancelled and will show as such in the system. If an absconding ban is in place, it is usually valid for a full calendar year but as it is an employment-related ban it should not prevent a person from reapplying to re-enter on a visit visa. However, they will not be approved for a work-related visa during the period of the ban.

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

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