8.2.6 Does your university as a body have a policy on pay scale equity including a commitment to measurement and elimination of gender pay gaps?
The advancement and protection of the rights of workers is a national priority. The UAE is considered a significant recipient of foreign labour due to the country's open policies and tolerant and cosmopolitan community. According to the World Bank, foreign workers in the UAE sent home more than USD 29 billion in 2014 – almost all of which went to developing countries – making the UAE the third-largest source of remittances globally. This income then benefits workers' families and home country economies.
In furtherance of its commitment to upholding labour rights, the UAE has ratified nine major International Labour Organization conventions related to workers' rights. Furthermore, it has adopted numerous laws to protect workers' rights, including recruitment, pay, housing, and health. In addition, the UAE has also signed multiple Memoranda of Understanding with workers' home countries to promote cooperation in protecting the rights of their workers in the UAE.
Domestically, the UAE is continuously working to strengthen worker protections. In 2017, the UAE implemented broad measures supporting overseas domestic workers (Federal Law Number 10 of 2017), guaranteeing individuals the right to retain personal documents and passports, change employers with greater ease, and receive mandated paid leave and insurance and accommodation. In addition, the reforms focus on improving the transparency of job terms and employment contracts and spell out how contracts can be terminated.
Under these policies, prospective workers are asked to sign a standard employment offer in their home country that will, in turn, be filed with the Ministry of Labor before a work permit is issued. That agreement is then registered as a legal contract once the worker arrives in the country. After that, no changes will be allowed unless they extend additional benefits to which the worker agrees. After that, either side can terminate the contract, after which the worker is free to change employers.
Furthermore, charging recruitment fees to prospective employees is illegal in the UAE, and steps have been taken to protect workers from unscrupulous recruiters. The confiscation of workers' passports is prohibited, and workers do not need their employer's permission to leave the country. All workers must be provided with comprehensive health insurance at the employer's cost, and strict rules govern the provision of proper accommodation. More than 3.2 million workers are paid through the Wage Protection System, an electronic transfer system that guarantees timely and fullpayment of agreed wages.
Should any worker have a conflict with their employer, the law also provides free, formal adjudication by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization. Furthermore, a 24-hour toll-free hotline allows workers to file complaints. In addition, the UAE has established offices in courts to provide legal support to workers in labour disputes, and labour care units have been established across the UAE to provide protection for workers and raise awareness of their rights.
Enforcement of worker protections has intensified, and substantial penalties have been imposed for violations relating to working conditions and workers' rights.
Safeguarding domestic workers
In service of domestic workers, Federal Law Number 10 of 2017 also ensures that workers are aware of the contract terms before departure from their home country and includes fundamental entitlements and provisions, such as weekly rest and 30 days of paid annual leave. In addition, the law strictly regulates recruitment agencies' work to avoid any form of abuse, such as payment of commission in exchange for employment. Moreover, the law sets out essential prohibitions, such as the ban of employment of minors, and includes anti-discrimination clauses.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has also licensed 37 centres called Tawjeeh. The centres inform workers about their rights and responsibilities and teach the UAE's culture and customs.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has also established 39 service centres across the country. These centres, called Tadbeer, offer training for domestic workers to know their rights and responsibilities, and provide them with copies of their employment contracts.
Paying wages on the due date is the responsibility of every employer. Private sector employers should ensure to pay their staff’s salaries through the Wages Protection System to avoid penalties and fines.
When employers should pay salaries?
In the UAE, workers employed in return for an annual or a monthly wage must receive their salaries once a month on due dates and no later than 10 days after the end of each salary period. If such periods are not mentioned in the contract, the employer must pay the employee once every 14 days.
Payment must be in the national currency of the UAE and must be done on working days.
There is no minimum salary stipulated in the UAE Labour Law, however it broadly mentions that salaries must cover basic needs of the employees.
Article 63 of the Labour law mentions that the minimum wage and cost of living index is determined either in general or for a particular area or a particular profession by virtue of a decree and consent of the Cabinet.
Basic salary and total salary
The UAE Labour Law does not provide any guidelines on the percentage of the basic salary to be paid by the employer. So it is at the discretion of the company to decide this percentage and the employee may negotiate, accept or not.
Wages shall be paid in legal tender on a working day, at the place of work, in the official national currency.
Workers employed on yearly or monthly wage basis shall be paid at least once a month; all other workers shall be paid at least once every two weeks.
The daily wage of workers employed on piecemeal basis shall be calculated as an equivalent to the average wage received for actual days of work during the six months preceding the termination of his service.
Evidence of payment to workers of their due wages, irrespective of their amount or nature, shall not be admissible unless it is in the form of documentary proof, admission or oath.. Any agreement to the contrary shall be null and void, albeit made prior to the date this Law comes into force.
Workers shall not be required to purchase food or other commodities at any particular shop, or of employer’s produce.
No amount of money may be deducted from a worker's wage in respect of private claims, except in the following cases:
Repayment of loans or money advances paid to the worker in excess of his entitlements, provided that the amount deducted in this case shall not exceed 10 per cent of his wage.
2. Contributions that the workers are required by law to make from their wages, towards social security and insurance schemes.
3. The worker’s contributions to a provident fund or repayment of loans due thereto.
4. Contributions towards any welfare scheme or in respect of any other privileges or services provided by the employer and approved by the labour department.
5. Fines imposed upon the worker for any offence he commits.
6. Any debt exacted in execution of a court ruling, provided, however, that the deduction made in execution thereof should not exceed one-quarter of the wage due to the worker. Where there are several debts or creditors, the maximum deduction shall be half the worker’s wage, which shall be divided pro rata among the creditors, after payment of any legal alimony to the extent of one quarter of the worker’s wage.
Where a worker, either through his own fault or as a result of violating the employer's instructions, causes a loss, damage or destruction to any tools, machines, products or materials that are owned by or in the custody of the employer, the employer may deduct from the worker's wage such amount as may be necessary for repair or restoration, provided that the amount so deducted shall not exceed five days’ wage for each month. However, the employer, through the concerned labour department, may request the competent court for permission to deduct a higher amount if the worker has money or any other source of income.
An employer may not transfer a monthly-paid worker, without his written consent, to the daily, weekly, hourly or piecemeal paid category.
The minimum wage and the cost-of-living index payable to workers in general or in a particular area or occupation shall be fixed by a federal decree based on a proposal to be made by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs and approved by the Council of Ministers. The Minister shall put forward his proposal for determining, or reviewing, the minimum wage, after consulting the competent authorities and the labour organisations of workers and employers, if any, and after having reference to studies and tables of fluctuations in the cost of living indices drawn up by the competent authorities in the State, to ensure that the said minima are sufficient to meet the worker’s basic needs and guarantee his livelihood.
The minimum wage rates and any amendments thereto shall take effect from the date the decree announcing them is published in the official Gazette.
Upon expiry of contract, the employer shall bear the cost of the worker’s repatriation to his point of hire or to any other point that was mutually agreed upon. Where a worker joins another employer upon expiry of his contract, the latter shall bear the cost of the worker's repatriation at the end of his service. Without prejudice to the foregoing, if the employer fails to return the worker or to pay his repatriation expenses, the competent authorities shall do so at the employer's expense and may then recover any expenditure incurred in this connection by attachment. Where the reason for the termination of the contract is attributable to the worker, his repatriation shall be at his own expense if he has the means to pay.
Article 131 (repeated 1)
1. For the purpose of the preceding Article, the worker’s “repatriation expenses” refers to the value of his travel ticket as well as the travel expenses of his family and the cost of shipping of his personal effects, as stipulated in the Labour contract or the firm’s policies.
2. A worker who is provided with accommodation by his employer shall vacate it within thirty days from the date of termination of his service.
3. The worker shall not overstay in the accommodation beyond the specified period for any reason, provided, however, that the employer pays the worker the following:
• the expenses specified in paragraph 1 of this Article.
• severance pay and any other entitlements the employee is bound to pay in accordance with the employment contract, the firm’s policies, or the law.
4. if the worker contests the amount of the expenses and entitlements referred to above, the Labour Department concerned shall urgently determine these expenses and entitlements within a week from notification, and shall promptly inform the worker accordingly.
5. In this case, the thirty-day grace period referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article shall be calculated to run from the date on which the employer deposits the value of the expenses and entitlements, as determined by the Labour Departments concerned, with the Ministry of Labour’s treasury. If the worker does not vacate the accommodation within the said thirty-day period, the Labour Department, with the assistance of the authorities concerned in the Emirate, shall take the necessary administrative measures for eviction.
6. The provisions of this Article shall not prejudice the worker’s right to contest its application before the competent court.
Article 131 (repeated 2)
1. Employer shall submit to the competent labour department a bank guarantee whose type, value, submission procedures, firms and companies to whom it is applicable, and other relevant terms shall be specified in a Council of Ministers’ resolution. This guarantee shall be used to ensure optimum fulfilment of employer’s obligations provided for under Articles 131 and 131 (repeated), of this Law. 2. Deduction of any amount from the bank guarantee referred to in paragraph 1 hereof shall be based on a court judgment, with the exception of the following:
Cost of a worker’s repatriation to his country of origin or the point agreed upon with the employer.
The amounts that the employer admits before the competent labour court that they are due to the worker. In these two cases, the Ministry reserves the right to deduct such entitlements from the guarantee referred to in paragraph 1 hereof and pay to the worker in fulfilment of his established dues.
Without prejudice to the provisions of laws that grant pensions or retirement benefits to employees in certain firms, severance pay shall be calculated on the basis of the wage last due for monthly, weekly and daily paid workers, and on the basis of the average daily wage referred to in Article 57 hereof for those paid on piecemeal. The wage used as a basis for calculating severance pay shall not include whatever is given to the worker in kind, housing allowance, transport allowance, travel allowance, overtime pay, representation allowance, cashier’s allowances, children education UAE Labour Law 29 allowance, allowances for recreational and social facilities, and any other bonuses or allowances.