KHALEEJ TIMES, Saturday, Jan 15, 2022 | Jamada
Al-Aakhirah 11, 1443
UAE law: What to do if employers don't pay salaries on time
Emirates: The direction, followed by the Labour Court, is part of
the efforts to tighten legal measures against employers involved in unpaid wages
of a large group of labourers and safeguard employee rights.
Ghassan El Daye, Partner and Head of Litigation Middle East at Charles Russell
Speechlys, said freezing a company's assets through the execution court
guarantees employee rights even before a final verdict.
"Previously, this kind of measure was taken after a final judgment was issued.
Under the UAE Civil Procedures Law, the Court of Appeal would issue a final
verdict, which meant workers had to pass through first and second-degree courts
before reaching a final settlement – a process that may take up to one year,
giving employers with bad faith enough time to shift all their assets."
He added, “Now with the court’s immediate freeze order, the execution court
takes action so workers would have their rights secured before the final
The new provision gives the court the authority to freeze a company’s assets
until a resolution with the employer is reached whether on amicable terms or
through a court verdict.
El Daye noted that if no resolution is reached with the employer, the company’s
assets are dissolved to pay off the workers’ wages.
He stressed that the legal provision complements Article 22/2 of the new Labour
Law that obliges employers to pay wages on time, thus, creating a binding
“It protects employee rights and dignity and establishes respect as a main
pillar in any employment relation,” he added.
How to take a group labourer complaint forward?
If a large group of employees working in one company are not paid on time, they
can file a complaint online with the competent authority where their work
contract was issued - whether the free zone or Office of Labour at the Ministry
of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE).
The authority reviews the complaint and works to reach an amicable settlement
between the employer and employees before shifting the case to the Labour Court.
What are the steps that workers should follow?
1. The group of employees can register one complaint online.
2. Select the “unpaid salaries” category and include all the names of
3. Save the complaint number.
4. The authority notifies the employer of the complaint.
5. The competent authority (Office of Labour or free zone) appoints a hearing
for both parties to attend before the ministry to reach a reconciliation.
6. If a reconciliation is not reached, then the case will be referred to Labour
What documents do employees need to submit in a complaint?
A copy of the employment contract
A copy of their VISA
Last salary receipt
How to prove that salaries were not paid?
The ministry’s Wage Protection System detects the value and time of the last
All companies registered with MoHRE are required to release salaries through the
The system helps preserve all employee rights, especially those who do not speak
Arabic or have access to legal services.
How much time does it usually take to reach a resolution?
The issue can be resolved within two weeks up to a month if reconciliation has
been reached by the competent authority.p>
If it goes to court, the case may take up to one year to resolve. For group
labourer disputes, the court freezes the assets of the company until a verdict
How is it different for individual labourer cases?
Steps of registering a complaint, documents needed, and the process are the
Under Article 54 of the new Labour Law, the employee can issue a complaint to
the ministry. If no reconciliation has been reached, the case will be referred
The relevant court is to determine a hearing within three days of receiving the
application. Final resolution can be reached within six months up to a year.
It is also worth noting that the new Labour Law exempts employees from judicial
fees at all stages of litigation and enforcement for petitions with a value not
What is the course of action that happens henceforth? Will an employer be asked
to pay additional compensation on top of the unpaid salary?
Court grants basic labour rights, which includes the salary, transport, housing,
leave compensation and end of service gratuity for each year of service, in
addition to a five per cent legal interest annually.
How can companies avoid landing in court?
Companies must have budgets before recruiting employees. By default, it is the
employer duty to ensure enough budget is allocated.
If a company faces financial distress due to an economic crisis or other
emergencies, it has to amend the employment contract of employees if there is a
salary decrease. Practical solutions must be communicated with employees to