UAE: Will my salary be affected if I file a labor complaint?

Dubai: If you have filed a complaint against your employer, can you continue to work for them? And how can you change jobs if the case is still in court?

In its monthly magazine, ‘Labour Market’, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has provided a detailed breakdown of the process followed by the ministry when an employer or employee registers a case with them.

In the June edition of the magazine, the MOHRE listed the steps and mentioned two factors that employees filing a labor complaint should keep in mind:

1. All employees whose complaints go to court must register their case and promptly change their status in the country.

2. Employees have the right to claim two months’ salary if they continue to work during the labor dispute proceedings that have been brought to court. In this case, the MOHRE can compel the employers to pay these wages or refer the complaint in this regard to a court.

Labor complaint process followed by MOHRE

According to the MOHRE, here is the process followed when an employer or employee raises a labor dispute:
1. If an employer or employee, or an eligible party on their behalf, disputes any of the rights vested in them under the Federal Legislative Decree concerning the regulation of labor relations, they must file a complaint with MOHRE. The latter will then examine the complaint and take the measures it deems necessary to settle the dispute between the parties concerned amicably.
2. If an amicable settlement is not possible, MOHRE will submit the dispute to the competent court within 14 days from the date of filing of the request, and the referral will be accompanied by a brief summarizing the dispute , the arguments of both parties and Recommendations of the MOHRE.
3. All employees whose complaints go to court must register their case and promptly change their status in the country.
Employees have the right to claim two months’ salary if they continue to work during the labor dispute proceedings that have been taken to court. In this case, the MOHRE can compel the employers to pay these wages or refer the complaint in this regard to a court.
Source: Labor Market Magazine, June edition, MOHRE

How your salary may be affected

According to Imran Khan, lawyer and legal consultant at Bin Eid Advocates, an employment relationship is technically suspended for the duration of the labor complaint.

“The employment relationship is suspended for the duration of the individual dispute procedure and the employer is not required to pay the worker’s salary. In the meantime, if the worker does the work, he or she can claim wages for up to two months under this law,” Khan said.

“Section 54(3) of the UAE Labor Law – Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 – mentions that two months’ salary may be ordered, notwithstanding the dispute resulting in the suspension of the worker’s salary in accordance with the regulations of application,” Khan added.

The employment relationship is suspended for the duration of the individual dispute procedure and the employer is not obliged to pay the worker’s salary. In the meantime, if the worker performs the work, he can claim wages for up to two months under this law.

– Imran Khan, lawyer and legal consultant at Bin Eid Advocates

This right is also set out in Section 31(4) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022.

Article 31 (4) of Cabinet Resolution No. (1) of 2022 on the implementation of Federal Executive Order No. (33) of 2021 concerning the regulation of labor relations

The worker is entitled to claim two months’ wages if he continues to work for the employer while the referred labor dispute is before the court, in which case the ministry can demand that the employer pay this wages or dismiss the complaint in this regard. to justice.

So while you are entitled to receive your wages for all the days you worked for the employer, up to a maximum of two months, it is also important to understand your rights as a worker and how you can make sure you don’t break any labor or residency laws while your case is in court.

How to File a Labor Complaint

According to Hari Wadhwana, a partner at Dubai-based law firm OGH, the process for filing a labor complaint with the MOHRE would vary a bit depending on whether or not an employee works with a mainland free zone company.

“For employees of a free zone entity, the employee should contact the relevant free zone labor department. The said labor department will then submit the dispute to MOHRE. Employees working with a mainland company can file a complaint from the work by calling the MOHRE hotline – 600590000, the MOHRE smartphone app or registering the complaint on the MOHRE website,” Wadhwana said.

What documents do I need to provide?

According to Wadhwana, although the documents required to register your complaint may differ in each case, there are certain documents that you would be required to provide in any case:

• Copy of the employee’s passport and Emirates ID card
• Employment contract registered with the MOHRE or free zone
• Letter of resignation or termination (if applicable)
• Any other documents on the basis of which the employee wishes to complain, such as bank statements to show non-payment of salary, correspondence which could prove a violation of labor law, etc.

Section 17(4) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 allows MOHRE to cancel an employee’s work permit to allow them to work at another company. In addition, Articles 4 and 5 of Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022 provide that under certain conditions, MOHRE may cancel an employee’s work permit or visa. Once done, the employee must undertake another visa and permit, to ensure that they do not incur any fines and that their stay in the UAE is legal.

– Hari Wadhwana, partner at Dubai-based law firm OGH

What if my employer fires me?

Section 31(4) of Cabinet Resolution 1 of 2022 states that the employee shall be entitled to claim two months wages if he continues to work for the company while the labor complaint is in court .

“The employee can continue to work for the company and if the company fires the employee for filing a labor complaint – and finally the labor complaint is successful in favor of the employee – the employee can claim compensation not exceeding three months’ salaryin accordance with Section 47 of the Labor Act,” Wadhwana said.

Article 47 of the UAE Labor Law: arbitrary dismissal

1. The termination of the worker’s service by the employer is unlawful if the termination of the worker’s service is due to the filing of a serious complaint with the ministry or the initiation of legal action against the employer, of which validity is proven.
2. The employer shall pay the worker fair compensation estimated by the competent court if it is proved that the dismissal is unlawful in accordance with clause (1) of this article. The amount of compensation is defined taking into account the type of work and the amount of damage caused to the worker and his length of service. It is required in all cases that the amount of compensation does not exceed the worker’s salary for a period of three months, calculated on the basis of the last salary he received.
3. The provisions of clause (2) of this article shall not affect the right of the worker to obtain termination indemnity and termination indemnities due to him in accordance with the provisions hereof.

Thus, an employee is entitled to his salary until his last day of work, whether he was fired or resigned, according to Wadhwana.

Can I apply for another job during an ongoing work case?

The Labor Complaints Procedure published by MOHRE also refers to the need for employees to promptly register a labor matter once it is brought to court. This is to ensure that, if necessary, the employee can look for a new job and to ensure that he has a valid visa.

“Section 17(4) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 allows MOHRE to cancel an employee’s work permit to allow them to work at another company. In addition, Articles 4 and 5 of Ministerial Resolution No. 47 of 2022 provide that under certain conditions, MOHRE may cancel an employee’s work permit or visa. Once done, the employee must undertake another visa and permit, to ensure that they do not incur any fines and that their stay in the UAE is legal,” Wadhwana said.

The work permit or visa could be canceled by the MOHRE on the following basis, according to Wadhwana:

• More than six months have passed since the filing of the labor complaint.
• At the request of the employee following the filing of an industrial tribunal complaint (not applicable if the employee is the subject of an investigation for penal action related to employment).

Once your work permit is cancelled, you can apply for a new job with another employer.

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