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Press Dossier    By Date   31/03/2024 UAE: Can employee sue employer for no salary raise despite new colleagues getting higher pay?

Khaleej Times, Sun, Mar 31, 2024 | Ramadan 21, 1445

UAE: Can employee sue employer for no salary raise despite new colleagues getting higher pay?

Emirates: Question: I have been working in a company for more than 10 years. I am still earning the same salary I did when I first joined and my designation and grade remain the same. I have colleagues who joined after I did and they earn much more than I do for the same work. Does the UAE law say anything about salary increase and growth opportunities within the organisation?

Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by an employer in the mainland of UAE. It is further assumed that you are discriminated by your employer regarding salary increments and promotions. The provisions of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on the Regulation of Employment Relations and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 on the Implementation of Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 Regarding the Regulations of Employment Relations are applicable.

In the UAE, an employee is entitled to receive a salary as mentioned in his/her employment contract registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). This is in accordance with Article 8 of the Employment Law read with Article 10 of the Cabinet Resolution No 1 of 2022.

Furthermore, an employer shall not discriminate amongst its employees for payment of salary wherein employees perform the same nature of work. This is in accordance with Article 4(1) & (4) pertaining to Equality and Non-Discrimination under Employment Law, which states, “1. It shall be prohibited to discriminate against persons on the grounds of race, colour, sex, religion, national original, ethnic origin, or disability, in such a way as to weaken equal opportunities or impair equal access to, continuation of, or enjoyment of rights associated with, employment. An employer shall not discriminate in respect of work involving the same job duties.

4. Women shall receive the same salary as men for the same work, or a work of equal value. Procedures, controls and standards for assessment of work of equal value shall be established by decision of the Cabinet, upon the proposal of the Minister."

Additionally, any employer who employs 50 or more employees should have its rules and regulations related to promotions, rewards, instructions, penalties and procedures for termination of employment. This is in accordance with Article 14(1) & (4) of Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022, which states, “Subject to the provisions of Article (13) of the Decree-Law, establishments that employ 50 or more employees shall set rules regarding the organisation of work, such as the regulation of work instructions, penalties, promotions and rewards, and the procedures for terminating the employment relationship, subject to the following:

1. The rules shall be set in a manner that does not contradict the provisions and rules set out in the Decree-Law, the provisions of this Resolution and the Legal Regulations.

4. The regulation of promotions and rewards shall include the criteria and rules related to promotions and rewards.”

Based on the aforementioned provisions of law, it may be noted that the Employment Law and the subsequent ministerial resolutions are silent on salary increments to an employee by an employer. Therefore, as you feel discriminated related to salary increment by your employer, you may approach your employer and inform that you deserve an increment and promotion as you have been serving the employer for more than 10 years and deserve it on the merit of your work. However, if your employer does not reciprocate to you positively related to this matter, you may consider filing a complaint with the MoHRE pertaining to discrimination by your employer with relevant documentary evidence confirming that you are discriminated by your employer.

Alternatively, if your employer is employing 50 or more employees, your employer should have its own HR policy (internal rules and regulations) and if the same includes rules with regard to salary increments and promotions, then you may file a complaint against your employer with the MoHRE on grounds of discrimination. In the event there is no amicable settlement reached between you and your employer, then you may escalate the dispute to a competent court.

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