10 Workplace Rights Every Dubai Employee Should Know

Do you know what all rights you have at work? You might accept that you can rely on your employer to monitor the law in every condition, but in fact, many employers violate labor laws, often simply through unawareness. It pays to know what your rights are.
Here are Ten of the most important workplace rights you might not appreciate you have.


1. Salary deduction: Employer cannot subtract a single penny from your salary in the name of offset an inadvertent error, cash shortage, or breakage (in other words, a loss caused by a simple mistake or accident). Your employer can’t deny your paycheck for deprived performance. No matter how poorly you perform, your employer can’t manipulate your salary. Make a mistake that prices the business thousands of dollars? Breakdown an important piece of equipment? These are the expenses of doing business for your employer, and it can’t come out of an employee’s paycheck. Of course, you might lose your job, but you still must be salaried for all the hours you worked.

2. Receiving Paycheck Promptly: You must receive your paycheck prompt after a pay period ends. The employer may even be required to pay you additional money on top of your wages as a penalty if your paycheck is late.If you are fired, your employer must pay all wages due to you immediately upon termination. If you quit, and gave your employer 72 hours of notice, you are entitled on your last day to all wages due. If you quit with less than 72 hours of notice, your wages are due within 72 hours after you notified your employer that you will be quitting. If your employer willfully refuses to pay you within these time limits, it may have to pay you a penalty for each day that your wages are late, for up to 30 days.

3. Overtime Pay: Whether you’re eligible for overtime pay isn’t up to your employer; the government decides. As per the UAE Labor Law, where the work circumstances require a worker to work more than the normal number of hours, any period worked in excess shall be treated as overtime, for which the worker shall receive the wage stipulated for his normal working hours, plus a supplement of at least 25 percent of that wage. Where the work circumstances require a worker to work overtime between 9 pm and 4am, he shall be entitled in respect of such overtime to the wage stipulated for his normal working hours, plus a supplement of at least 50 percent of that wage.
The number of hours of actual overtime shall not exceed two a day, unless such work is essential for preventing a substantial loss or a serious accident, or eliminating or alleviating the impact of the latter. Overtime may be calculated on the basis of the total wage and not the basic wage. In the labor law ‘Wage’ and ‘Basic wage’ have different definitions. ‘Wage’ includes basic pay plus all the allowances and ‘Basic wage’ excludes any allowances.

4. Working Off the Clock: Your employer cannot ask, require, or even allow you to work off the clock. If you’re a non-exempt employee, you must be paid for all time worked. You can’t waive this right. Moreover, your employer cannot give you comp time in lieu of overtime pay.

5. Unsafe work.
The Labor Law allows you to refuse to perform unsafe work as long as it is hazardous enough that any reasonable person would think his/her health or safety would be in danger by doing the work. Before you refuse to perform unsafe work, however, make sure you inform your supervisor about the unsafe condition, and give the company a chance to correct it. If the company does not correct the unsafe condition, and you decide to refuse the work, make sure that you inform your supervisor, preferably in writing or in front of others, exactly why you are refusing to do the work, and that you will return to work as soon as the condition is fixed.

6. Discussing Your Salary: Your employer can’t stop you from discussing your salary with your co-workers. The employers can’t prevent employees from discussing wages among themselves. Many employers have policies against this anyway, but these policies violate the law.

7. Working Condition: Similarly, your employer can’t stop you from discussing your working conditions with your co-workers. The reason for the law is that employees wouldn’t be able to organize if they were forbidden from talking with each other about such important issues.

8. Promises: Promises made in your employee handbook are often binding. Circumstances vary, but in many cases, courts have ruled that promises made in employee handbooks are legally binding. In particular, pay attention to whether your company writes that it “will” or “shall” take particular actions; those statements are more likely to be more binding than statements that your employer “may” or “can” do something.

9. Identify between contractor and employee: Your employer can’t pay you as a contractor while treating you like an employee. If your employer controls when, where, and how you work, the government says you’re an employee—and your company needs to pay your payroll taxes and offer you the same benefits it offers to regular employees. Your designation as an “employee” or as an “independent. Contractor” is determined by how you do your work, not by your job title. If you are an employee, you are eligible for unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation,

10. Unemployment Insurance: You may be eligible for unemployment insurance if you are fired or quit your job for “good cause.” The following circumstances are considered to be “good cause” to quit a job:
 Domestic reasons (leaving your job in order to maintain a marriage or family situation);
 You are offered a better job (if you are offered another job with better wages, benefits and potential, and then the job falls through);
 Health reasons (before quitting, you must inform your employer of the health problem and ask for a leave of absence or a less demanding job);
 Intolerable working conditions (such as safety, harassment, significant demotions or pay cuts).

–Being fired from a job does not disqualify you from receiving unemployment insurance unless you are terminated for “misconduct;” showing serious or intentional disregard for your employer’s interests. Repeated tardiness or unexcused absences from work may qualify as misconduct; “poor performance” is not misconduct and should not disqualify you from unemployment benefits.

To avoid being disqualified for unemployment insurance if you quit the job, you must also make all reasonable attempts to notify your employer and attempt to solve the problem before you quit.

8 thoughts on “10 Workplace Rights Every Dubai Employee Should Know

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  4. I am on my husbands visa and the employer has not paid me since I joined been 50days, they are not negotiating salary and delaying my salary. I am entitled to the May 2014 which they are yet to pay. They had given me a target of 250,000 dhs but at the interview I had made it clear that I cannot meet targets in first three-four months as I need to study the market and make contacts. They have not issued me a labour card as yet. And they kept saying that they will apply for it. Can I complain in such an occasion??

  5. Hi

    I want to know what if my employer has terminated me on the grounds of restructuring and it’s been 2 months I am not been paid my salary for for last 3 months plus my end is service.

    I have made a labour complain but my employer is buying time but the complain is still not launched as it’s in talks and negotiation.

    Please advise if I should file a complain and please let me know the cost of this.

    Can I also claim the 3 months salary compensation due to termination? My contact is unlimited and visa is under Tecom. I have served 5 years in this company.

    Thank your

  6. I joined a company at a certain post as a chef now without asking the are telling us to work as waiter we did not sign for this is it legal although salary stays the same

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