UAE's private sector staff must be paid and on time, says labour ministry

Rights of employees must be ensured under temporary changes to employment contracts

A photo of Middle Eastern Arab businessmen discussing in corridor. Full length of professionals are walking in modern office. One is in suit and other is wearing traditional Emirati clothes. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
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Private-sector companies in the UAE must ensure staff wages are protected and paid on time, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation said.

It said employers who have granted staff early leave, amid the coronavirus outbreak, must ensure they have filed documents indicating consent from both parties to the ministry as a “temporary supplementary annex” to the employment contract. A form for this is available on the ministry’s app and website.

This month, the ministry said it would temporarily allow employment contracts to be modified based on mutual consent between the employee and the company.

These amendments can include granting the employee paid leave or unpaid leave, temporarily reducing wages for a specific period or permanently reducing wages.

The ministry said the announcement was made in response to requests from residents working in the private sector who wished to return to their home country.

Under the UAE’s labour law, employers who agree to contract amendments with their staff are obliged to book employees round-trip tickets to their home countries. The contractual relationship between employer and employee must continue and early leave must be considered unpaid leave, the ministry said.

Employers must immediately update the ministry on any changes to employment contracts, including the temporary or permanent reduction of wages.

"Private-sector employers' commitment to pay wages on time, as well as documenting early leave and the reduction in employee wages, whether temporarily or permanently, would guarantee the rights of both parties in the business relationship," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

It said employers must fulfil their legal obligations to their employees to ensure employee productivity and business continuity.

This month, Abdullah Ali Al Nuaimi, acting assistant Undersecretary for Communication and International Relations at the ministry, advised anyone who was currently seeking a job to register on the ministry's virtual labour market.