Convenient working hours and employee-friendly laws are attractions that bring hundreds of expats every year to the UAE. Those who live and work in the UAE enjoy the benefits regulated by the UAE Labour Law and Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE).
MOHRE is the authority that regulates labour and employee affairs in the UAE. The ministry ensures that the rights of employers and employees are safeguarded alike. The primary rules are related to wages, vacations, incentives, and overall work environment and working conditions.
What is Wages Protection System (WPS) in UAE?
“Wages Protection System (WPS) in UAE is an electronic salary transfer system that allows private institutions to pay wages via banks, bureau de change, and financial institutions approved and authorized to provide services.”
The WPS in the UAE was launched in 2019 and developed by the Central Bank (UAE) and MOHRE. The process involves MOHRE providing private institutions state-of-the-art backup support and a reliable database to create salary files for their workforce. Companies need to send these databases to their respective banks for wage distribution to the employees. The database accounts for all salary payments in the private sector; thus, ensuring each employee receives the agreed-upon wages on time.
Goals and Objectives
The WPS in UAE ensures timely payment of wages agreed between employer and employee. The massive WPS database covers all institutions registered with MOHRE—across businesses and multiple industries. Some of its major roles are:
- Committed to safeguard employee salaries.
- Protect employers’ rights and provide a flawless system that reduces time and efforts to disburse due wages and salaries.
- Ensure job security in the UAE’s private sector.
- Strengthen work relationships while protecting the right of all stakeholders.
- Ensure an easy and transparent system for disbursing wages.
- Proactive approach to protect other employees and reduce disputes related to labour and wages.
There are multiple stakeholders that are covered by the Wage Protection System:
- Employees or Workforce: Any individual listed in the payroll of a private sector organization and works in exchange for an agreed-upon wage is considered an employee. It is mandatory for all employees to possess a valid labour card issued by MOHRE.
- Employers: The owner of the private sector organization registered with WPS and MOHRE.
- Banks: Any bank that has the account of employers’ organization and disburses wages to employees under its payroll.
- Agents: Any financial institute, bureau de change, or any bank authorized and approved by the Central Bank of the UAE to disburse salaries through WPS in the UAE. You can find the list of approved and authorized agents on its website.
What is WPS registration procedure for Employers?
The registration process for WPS is straightforward. The whole process is available on MOHRE’s website, and it is well explained in a step-by-step manner. Below is the list of documents and information required for registering in the Wage Protection System through the MOHRE website:
- Bank Account Details
- List of Employees with bank details
- List of agents that the company works with
- Employees bank account details or the agent details
- The date on which the salary needs to be registered
- MOHRE registration details
You can log in to MOHRE website and update these details anytime. According to MOHRE guidelines, salary month cannot have a difference of more than one month from the dates chosen to pay the salary. The guidelines further suggest that when an employee joins or leaves the company, the employer must download a new employee list and attach it to the applications.
What is the minimum wage in the UAE?
There are no prescribed rules for the minimum wage in the UAE. The Federal Law No. 8 of 1980, the regulations of Labour relations only provide a general guideline that salaries must cover the basic needs of employees.
Article 63 of the Labour Law explains that the minimum wage and cost of living index are determined either for a particular area or in general. It can also be determined for a particular profession, all by virtue of a decree and consent of the cabinet.
How to Report unpaid delayed salaries?
Employees can contact MOHRE anytime they have complaints regarding the salary by reporting salary complaints on the MoHRE website.
Fines for non-payment of salary
Any fraudulent actions or late payment of salaries by employers can attract a series of fines and penalties. If the wage is not paid within 10 days from the due date (the next day of the end of the salary period), then it is considered that the employee is refusing to give wages to employees. According to Ministerial Resolution No. 15 of 2017, anyone misusing WPS for fraudulent uses or avoiding WPS may have to bear the following fines:
- AED 5,000 per employee: Entry of incorrect data in the WPS for the purpose of evasion. In the case of multiple workers, an upper limit of AED 50,000 is set for fine.
- AED 1,000 per employee: Failure to pay the salary by the due date.
- AED 5,000 per employee: Forcing to sign on fake payslips.
Penalties on companies for failing to pay salaries
The penalties may differ based on the size of the company and the number of employees working. Here are the consequences of companies failing to pay wages.
Companies employing over 100 workers: (failing to pay wages within a period not exceeding 10 days)
- Non-issue of work permits starting from the 16th day from the day of delay.
- Companies delaying wages for over a month from the due date are referred to judicial authorities for punitive measures.
- Companies owned by the same owner may also face actions by authorities.
- The owner gets restricted from registering any new companies.
- The bank guarantee of the employer gets liquidated.
- The company gets downgraded to the third category.
- Workers can terminate their contract and move to other countries.
The fines mentioned earlier are also applicable along with these penalties.
Companies employing less than 100 workers: (failing to pay wages within a period not exceeding 60 days)
- Right to issue work permits gets banned.
- Referral to court.
- Fines mentioned earlier.
Companies committing such violations repeatedly in a year may have to bear more penalties issues by MOHRE.
The employers operating in the UAE must always be mindful of updates to the WPS regime. The WPS is a transparent and effective system that protects employees and companies. If you need to file a complaint regarding your workplace dispute, get in touch with our specialized labour law experts. They can assist you in filing, tracking, and resolution of the complaint.