Shot in the Arm for Workers not being Paid Wages on Time

30 April 2009, Publication: Khaleej Times

ABU DHABI — A new free service called ‘My Salary’ that allows workers to alert the Ministry of Labour about non-payment of salary was launched on Wednesday by the ministry.

The service, which was launched as part of the celebrations to mark International Workers’ Day, is part of the ministry’s efforts to ensure firms pay their workers on time.

Humaid bin Deemas, Director General of the Ministry, said the new service underlines the determination to guarantee rights of workers in the local labour market.

“The ministry will act swiftly to enforce an employer to pay delayed salaries without unveiling the identity of the worker who had lodged the complaint,’’ Deemas told a press conference. “As of Thursday, all new labour contracts will incorporate an explicit article that encourages the worker to call the service if his salary is not paid on time. The service, falls within the ministry’s initiatives to serve the interests of both the employer and employee.” he added.

Workers whose salaries are not paid on time can use the service on the ministry’s website or contact the call centre through the toll free line 800665. On the complaint being received, the call centre transfers the complaint to inspectors who will immediately contact the employer to find out the reasons for the delay.

“The service serves as a message to employers that non-payment of salaries will get them into trouble with the ministry. A multi-language, nation-wide campaign will be released to educate the workers on how to take advantage of the service,’’ he added.

“This first of its kind service in the region will help the ministry keep in touch with the 4.1 million workers employed by 260,000 firms. It will allow early intervention to solve any problem, thus keeping the good relationship between the employer and his employee,’’ he said. The salary issue takes top priority at the ministry followed by housing and health, Deemas told Khaleej Times. “Our policy is to open a dialogue with a non-compliant employer in order to help him fall on line. If he doesn’t cooperate, we will close down the firm. No work permit will thereafter be issued or labour cards renewed. If the salary is not paid within a month, other firms owned by the employer will get the same penalties,’’ he said.