The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (previously known as Ministry of Labour) is fully committed to ensuring that employer-employee relations and labour rights are maintained for the private sector.
However, there are still many companies that are short-changing workers by hoodwinking the government-backed Wages Protection System (WPS), a Gulf News investigation has found.
Some estimates indicate that nearly 50 per cent of all small private construction and transport companies circumvent the system to pay workers nearly 40 per cent less than what’s rightfully due.
What is WPS
The Wages Protection System (WPS) is an electronic salary transfer process that allows companies and institutions to pay wages via registered agents such as banks, exchange houses and financial institutions, using their WPS code.
As soon as a registered agent receives an employee’s salary transfer instruction, it beams an electronic notification to the Wages Protection System, which then sends the worker’s salary file to the agent for payment. Each employee is issued an electronic card to withdraw his salary from the agent’s cash dispensing machine.
After being made mandatory in 2017, WPS now covers more than 321,000 institutions, accounting for around 94.7 per cent of private sector firms.
Sultan Al Sa’adi, Director of the Inspection Department in the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said companies found trying to evade WPS will be fined and referred to judicial authorities. In response to a Gulf News query, Al Sa’adi said employers who enter inaccurate data in WPS will also be dealt with severely.
“The employer shall be summoned and investigated, and the penalties and administrative fines shall be applied if the violation is in accordance with the Council of Ministers Decision No. 15 of 2017 Article 3. Entry of incorrect data in the Wage Protection System for the purposes of evasion or circumvention of the provisions of the Regulation is fined by (Dh5,000) for each worker and a maximum limit of Dh50,000 in case of multiple workers,” he said, adding that salaries not remitted within 10 days of the pay day are considered late.
Workers who feel cheated by their employer could report wage-related violations to the ministry’s My Salary/Ratibi Service.”
Sultan Al Sa’adi | Director of Inspection Department, Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
Al Sa’adi said workers who feel cheated by their employers could report wage-related violations to Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation’s My Salary/Ratibi Service in strict confidentiality.
“If the ministry is convinced that an establishment is not committed to paying wages through the electronic system, then penal measures will be taken against the establishment and judicial authorities will be informed while the workers will be allowed to move to another employer,” he said.