Experts say most employment disputes can be settled out of court
New Tawafq centres will avoid need for court case delays
New government drop-in centres across the UAE have made it easier for employees to recoup unpaid salaries.
Workers wanting to file a claim against their employer can visit numerous Tawafq offices for advice on whether they have a viable case.
Details of their complaint are sent to internal lawyers to decide if a court hearing is required. Two resident judges in each centre are also on hand to deal with more minor disputes.
“There is far greater questioning about the types of claims people are bringing…so you can’t just come and say I want to claim what I'm owed,” said Benjamin Burgher, a legal consultant at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD).
Mr Burgher described how the 15 new centres were proving an effective way to manage employment cases.
He said more than half of labour disputes could usually be resolved outside of court.
“When you look at the claims being brought, 60 per cent are wages claims,” he said. “And if you’ve not been paid, it’s not really a dispute.”
Under new laws, companies looking to recruit staff have to take out insurance to ensure workers can still be paid if the firm goes bust.
A Dh70 per employee policy fee now provides a Dh20,000 payout in the event of bankruptcy. Previously, businesses only had to provide a Dh3,000 guarantee per worker.
“Before there was a guarantee that an employer had to pay Dh3,000 for each worker but now there’s insurance that provides Dh20,000 at a cost to the company of just Dh70,” said Mr Burgher.