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Employee wages must be safeguarded, paid on time, says UAE labour ministry

Private-sector employers must commit to ensuring employee wages are safeguarded and paid on time via the Wages Protection System, said the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, MoHRE.

In a statement on Wednesday, the UAE ministry noted that employers must adhere to Ministerial Decree No. 739 of 2016 concerning the protection of wages, as well as employment contracts signed by employers and employees.

The ministry advised that employers that have granted employees ‘early leave’ – as part of precautionary measures during the coronavirus pandemic – must expedite the required documentation to register such consent, via a temporary supplementary annex to the employment contract. The supplementary form/annex is available for employers via the MoHRE smart app and website.

The early leave initiative was launched by the ministry earlier this month, in response to requests by expats working in the UAE private sector, who are willing to return to their home countries. The initiative ensures that employers book employees round-trip tickets; that the contractual relationship between employer and employee continues, with early leave considered as unpaid leave, ensuring the consideration of employee rights as per the UAE labour law.

MoHRE also added that employers must immediately update systems approved by the ministry on any changes to employment contracts agreed by both parties, including the temporary or permanent reduction of wages.

The ministry affirmed that 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. It emphasised that adherence by employers towards fulfilling their legal obligations to their employees, particularly with regards to remuneration, is of utmost importance in ensuring the stability of the working relationship, employee productivity, and business continuity.