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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Should an Abu Dhabi company reimburse its employees’ Mawaqif parking fees?

Workplace Doctor: A worker berates the fact he must now pay Mawaqif parking charges. But is it his responsibility or his employer's?
A Mawaqif sign in Abu Dhabi's Tourist club area. The Workplace Doctor explains whether a worker or employee should foot the bill for parking. Sammy Dallal / The National
A Mawaqif sign in Abu Dhabi's Tourist club area. The Workplace Doctor explains whether a worker or employee should foot the bill for parking. Sammy Dallal / The National

I work in Abu Dhabi and for the last eight years have always parked outside my office. However, since Mawaqif paid parking zones were introduced last year, I now have to pay to park outside my office. My company is unwilling to refund the amount I pay to park and although the amount is not very much each day, it adds up over time. I now see this as a deduction on my salary. So should my company pay and how can I tackle this issue with the management? DM, Abu Dhabi

I personally find this situation to be very interesting and view it from multiple angles.

I can look at your situation from the country’s point of view, which is today’s economic situation. Times have changed. What I mean is some time back, when the life was very different and clearly parking revenue was not a priority for the country, we were blessed with having free parking. We were also living and working in a country with fewer living costs across the board. If progress is to continue, changes will occur.

I can look at your situation from the employer’s point of view. I see that they hire you for your capability to get a specific job done. Unless they are hiring you as a full package, being responsible for providing housing, meals, transportation, then payment of parking spaces is not the employer’s responsibility. Some employers choose to include perks such a parking space free of charge, yet this is not a necessity for them to cover. That would really be like saying that a London employer should pay for the Tube ticket every day and an Australian employer should pay for the ferry ride on Sydney Harbour. You may have been here in the Arabian Gulf in the early days where assignments were termed hardship posts and many of these perks were one-way to attract high-level human capital. What hardship do you encounter today that justifies the payment of your parking?

I can look at this from your own point of view and see how this can be interpreted as a negative, if considering it from one angle only, your pocket and daily expenses. However, if you think of weekend time and the things you can enjoy for no cost in the country, would you still be sweating over the parking cost? Frankly speaking, it was your choice to come to this company and it is your choice to decide to stay when changes have an impact on you.

So what alternatives do you have? Choice one: Stay and budget accordingly

Choice two: Stay and complain

Choice three: Find alternatives such as public transport or other parking spots

Choice four: Choose to move on to a new workplace

To take this just one step further DM, I’d also encourage you to think about other aspects of your life. With both Abu Dhabi and the whole world evolving, we can no longer put our hands out and expect everything to be simply given to us. Are you suffering from this entitlement mentality only regarding parking or other areas such as personal and professional development? If so, and your outlook does not realign rather quickly, encouraging yourself to invest some funds into your own growth, the world will simply pass you by. Today’s world rewards those who make an effort and are part of a solution.

Doctor’s prescription

Always look for the bright side of life and work in changing situations.

Debbie Nicol, the managing director of Dubai-based business en motion, is a consultant on leadership and organisational development, strategic change and corporate culture. Email her at debbie.nicol@businessenmotion.com for the Workplace Doctor’s advice on your challenges, whether as an employee, a manager or a colleague