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Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

QI work a reg­u­lated 40-hour week which is Sun­day to Thurs­day. If I take a day off in the mid­dle of the week I lose a day’s pay, which is ap­pro­pri­ate. How­ever, if I take an day off on a Thurs­day or a Sun­day, my em­ployer in­cludes the week­end in the de­duc­tion and deducts three days’ pay. How can this be le­gal?

AYou do not men­tion what is writ­ten in your con­tract of em­ploy­ment, and I pro­ceed on the ba­sis that you are em­ployed un­der a stan­dard em­ploy­ment con­tract with no par­tic­u­lar term or terms con­cern­ing Thurs­day and/or Sun­day work­ing, nor the de­duc­tion (as op­posed to loss) of pay for a day or days off.

I also pro­ceed on the ba­sis that you have agreed any day(s) off in ad­vance such that no penalty/fine is­sues arise un­der Ar­ti­cle 102 of Fed­eral Law no. 8 of 1980 (the UAE Labour Law).

Your ques­tion sug­gests that you are paid on an hourly ba­sis, yet you go on to state that if you take a day off mid­week, you ‘lose’ a day’s work. You go on to say that if you take a Thurs­day or a Sun­day off, the em­ployer ‘deducts’ 3 days’ pay. Th­ese state­ments ap­pear to be con­tra­dic­tory and il­log­i­cal. If your con­tract pro­vides that you are re­mu­ner­ated for 40 hours’ work, ir­re­spec­tive of the days of the week on which you ac­cu­mu­late th­ese 40 hours, you ought not to be pe­nalised for tak­ing a day off.

If you do not work, it is en­tirely ac­cept­able that you don’t get paid for it. How­ever, given that Fri­days and Satur­days are not a part of your work­ing week, it is im­per­mis­si­ble for your em­ployer to ‘deduct’ wages for those days. By do­ing so, it seems your em­ployer is de­duct­ing wages from the hours you had worked on your work­ing days. This is con­sid­ered to be an of­fence against Ar­ti­cle 60 of the Labour Law, which pro­hibits de­duc­tions from wages, ex­cept in cer­tain spec­i­fied cir­cum­stances (in­clud­ing, but not limited to: over­pay­ment, legally re­quired de­duc­tions, con­tri­bu­tions to a sav­ings fund, fines for em­ploy­ment of­fences).

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