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New UAE labour laws threaten heavy fines

Fines of up to Dh20,000 every time a company breaks Emiratisation rules are among about 20 sanctions for breaches of labour laws.

ABU DHABI // Fines of up to Dh20,000 every time a company breaks Emiratisation rules were among about 20 sanctions for breaches of labour laws that came into effect yesterday.

The offences also include wage delays, providing improper housing for workers and forcing them to pay for their labour permits, not reporting an absconding worker and making false reports about absconding workers.

Companies guilty of "ghost" Emiratisation, where paperwork shows that Emiratis have been hired but no one is working, will be fined Dh20,000 for each incident.

"Emiratisation is the first priority to ensure jobs for all locals in public and private sectors of the emirates. It wouldn't be tolerated that any local is regarded as a ghost worker with any organisation," said Mubarak Saeed Al Dhaheri, undersecretary of the Ministry of Labour.

"But there should be a virtual relationship of work in which Emirati employees play an active role in the desired development activities."

The fines are intended to protect the rights of all workers and regulate the labour market, he said.

Mr Al Dhaheri said labour cards were considered a labourer's "licence" and so must be obtained and renewed on time according to ministry rules.

The new regulations stipulate a Dh1,000 fine for every month the card renewal is delayed, starting 60 days after it expires.

He added that ensuring employees are paid in a timely fashion is a basic necessity, and companies that disregard the rule will invite hefty fines.

Companies that delay wages for 60 days could be fined Dh5,000 per worker, and in cases where multiple workers have not been paid, a company can be fined up to Dh50,000.

anwar@thenational.ae

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