No es­cape if you don’t pay on time

Warn­ing firms over de­layed salaries

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Rory Reynolds @Ro­ryReynolds

Com­pa­nies have been told they will no longer get away with fail­ing to pay their em­ploy­ees on time.

The mes­sage came from Ma­her Ha­mad Al Obed, As­sis­tant Un­der­sec­re­tary of In­spec­tion Af­fairs at the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources and Emi­rati­sa­tion, af­ter a 7DAYS poll of more than 500 UAE res­i­dents found more than half have seen their salaries de­layed at some stage.

One in five re­spon­dents said they had to wait more than a month for un­paid wages.

And some work­ers told 7DAYS that their com­pa­nies are typ­i­cally three months be­hind on pay­ing salaries.

Out of the 521 re­spon­dents, 264 said they have to wait for their pay.

Labour of­fi­cials have urged em­ploy­ees not to suf­fer in si­lence and to re­port their firms. A new law that came into af­fect three weeks ago will re­sult in firms be­ing fined Dhs5,000 for each em­ployee that is not paid within 10 days of the due date.

Al Obed said: “The author­ity has taken all nec­es­sary ar­range­ments to start im­ple­ment­ing the res­o­lu­tion, with new poli­cies and mea­sures in­tro­duced to strengthen the pro­tec­tion of work­ers’ rights in ob­tain­ing their wages with­out de­lay.

“These in­clude the min­istry tak­ing man­date over vi­o­lat­ing firms in the case of de­layed salaries in the pe­riod spec­i­fied by the law.”

Work per­mits can be with­drawn for com­pa­nies af­ter 16 days.

Penal­ties rise to a max­i­mum of Dhs50,000 in cases that run for more than 60 days.

“If the com­pany fails to pay wages for 60 days from the due date then ad­min­is­tra­tive fines shall fol­low in ad­di­tion to reg­is­tered fines for fail­ing to pay wages a month from the due date,” said Al Obed.

Con­struc­tion worker Sikan­der is em­bar­rassed to tell his fam­ily they are go­ing hun­gry be­cause his salary is late.

The 39-year-old In­dian, who earns Dhs1,200 per month, said he makes ex­cuses as he anx­iously waits to get paid – which is usu­ally a month af­ter when he is sup­posed to.

He said: “When­ever my fam­ily calls me, I have to lie and tell them I have too many ex­penses here and they need to wait un­til I send them money.

“But they don’t know what’s hap­pen­ing here. If they did, they would ask me to re­turn home. But what will I do there? I can earn more here.”

An­other worker, at a labour sup­ply firm in Dubai, has been paid three months late for the past two years.

Mo­hammed M, 31, said he and his col­leagues earn be­tween Dhs1,000 to Dhs1,500 and that their wages are cur­rently three months late.

He said he ex­pects to get July’s salary in the next few days. Mo­hammed said: “It’s a big prob­lem for work­ers from a lot of com­pa­nies here who hire work­ers from Bangladesh, In­dia or Pak­istan. “We can’t re­ally do much about it.” He added: “At the end of this month, I will re­ceive my July salary.

“How am I sup­posed to take care of my­self? I’m not earn­ing Dhs10,000, I am earn­ing only Dhs1,400 and more than half of that goes to fam­ily in Bangladesh.” Dinesh Ku­mar, First Sec­re­tary at the In­dian Em­bassy, which rep­re­sents the largest pop­u­la­tion of ex­pat work­ers, said of­fi­cials have seen a re­cent rise in com­plaints.

The em­bassy has even been help­ing those af­fected with food al­lowances.

Ku­mar said: “We do get some com­plaints, and it’s on an in­crease, from work­ers who are not get­ting their salaries on time and many who say their bosses have run away.”

As 7DAYS re­ported in Au­gust, Ku­mar said lost wages due to own­ers flee­ing was up sharply.

He said at the time: “Last year the to­tal amount of com­plaints we re­ceived of a sim­i­lar na­ture was 340, but this year we al­ready had 300 by the end of July. If the same trend goes on, we may see the fig­ure dou­bling by the end of the year.”

‘For a long time we have been re­ceiv­ing our salaries three months late’ – Mo­hammed, 31, sup­ply firm worker

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