‘Am I entitled to overtime pay during the holy month?’


I work as security guard for a large company. Although I work 12 hours a day during Ramadan, I do not receive extra pay for overtime.

Can I ask the management of my company to pay me over time during the holy month? PR, Dubai

RP works for a large private company who should be aware of work rules and working hours during Ramadan.

These rules apply to all employees and, as explained in a previous column, the law stipulates that all employees must work two hours less per day during the holy month.

Federal Law 33 of 2021, known as the New Labor Law, which came into force on February 2, states in Article 17: “The maximum normal hours of work for workers are eight hours a day or 48 hours a week.”

The labor law also specifies overtime limits and pay rates.

Overtime rules also apply during Ramadan, so if staff are asked to work longer hours than normal during that month, they must be paid for overtime.

Employees can be asked to work up to two hours of overtime per day, for a maximum of 144 hours of work in total every three weeks. Overtime must be paid at the normal rate plus 25 per cent of the gross salary, including any allowances.

If an employee is asked to work overtime from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., the payment must be increased by 50% of the standard wage, unless they usually work shifts as part of their standard employment contract .

The only exception to this rule is senior managers and executives, who are not legally entitled to overtime pay. However, all employers should be considerate during Ramadan.

I have come across several cases where security guards work more than the legal number of hours. That’s wrong.

Any employer who insists employees work overtime is breaking the law if they don’t pay it. Individuals can file complaints against them with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MoHRE).

The ministry will take a particularly bleak view of a company failing to follow UAE law in terms of working hours during Ramadan.

A real estate company hired me on January 14th. They promised me that my visa had been processed, but I found out that was not true.

I have now overdraft fines totaling 5000 Dhs. What can I do about this? SN, Dubai

Any company that hires an employee but does not apply for a visa initially is breaking the law.

Even if the person holds a spouse’s or parent’s visa, the employer must apply for a work permit. Anyone who does not have a residence visa and a work permit is working illegally and has no legal protection.

I have received similar letters in the past and it seems all too common for some estate agents to not apply for a visa until someone has been with them for a few months.

The government is very clear on this situation. He issued Federal Executive Order No. 7 for 2007, which amended immigration law and increased the potential fine for employers who do not obtain the appropriate employee visas and permits to Dh10,000 per worker at 50,000 Dhs. This is unchanged.

Anyone who does not have a residence visa and work permit is working illegally and has no legal protection

Keren Bobker, Senior Partner, Holborn Assets

In addition to this fine, employers may receive an additional fine of Dh50,000 from the MoHRE. If an employer repeats the fines may increase.

A foreign business owner could face criminal charges, be deported, or face a lifetime ban. If the owner is a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, he can be sentenced to prison.

Without a residency visa, SN is not a legal employee and is responsible for accrued overstay fines.

The employer knows this and has put SN in an unfair position as they have no recourse to a legal complaint without a residency visa. This also means that he is not beholden to an employer and is not subject to or protected by UAE labor law.

My husband sponsors me and I don’t have a job. Can I open a bank account?

Her bank told me I couldn’t open an account, but is that really the case? AS, Ras Al Khaimah

Any resident adult can open a bank account in the UAE whether they have income or not. Most banks offer a non-salary account, although not all of them are made public. These usually offer debit card and online banking, but no credit facilities.

Emirates NBD’s LIV account and Mashreq Neo Students and Housewives account are probably the easiest to set up as you can do so through their apps, without visiting a branch.

Keren Bobker is an independent financial advisor and senior partner at Holborn Assets in Dubai, with over 25 years of experience. Contact her at keren@holbornassets.com. Follow her on Twitter at @FinancialUAE

The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information purposes only.

Updated: April 17, 2022, 5:00 a.m.


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