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UAE: Can an Employee Legally Challenge Employer for No Salary Increase When New Colleagues Receive Higher Pay?

UAE: Can an Employee Legally Challenge Employer for No Salary Increase When New Colleagues Receive Higher Pay?
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A long-time employee at a company wants to understand what the law in the country says about chances for career advancement.

Question: I've been with my company for over a decade now, but my salary and position haven't changed. Meanwhile, colleagues who joined after me are earning more for the same work. What does UAE law say about salary increases and opportunities for career growth within the company?

Answer: Based on your situation, assuming you work in mainland UAE, it appears you're facing potential discrimination regarding salary raises and promotions. The laws relevant to this scenario are Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021 on Employment Relations Regulation and Cabinet Resolution No. 1 of 2022 implementing Federal Decree Law No. 33 of 2021.

In the UAE, employees have the right to receive the salary stated in their employment contract, which should be registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE). This is outlined in Article 8 of the Employment Law, along with Article 10 of 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 per Articles 4(1) & (4) on 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 per 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 organization 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.

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

According to the laws mentioned, there are no specific rules about salary increases for employees. If you believe you're being treated unfairly regarding salary raises compared to your colleagues, you can discuss this with your employer. If there's no resolution, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) with evidence of discrimination. If your company has its own HR policies regarding salary raises and promotions, and your employer doesn't follow them, you can also file a complaint with the MoHRE. If the issue isn't resolved, you can take legal action through the court system.

News Source: Khaleej Times

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