Question: I work in a Dubai-based company. I understand that work hours are cut by two hours during the holy month of Ramadan. What happens if my boss is unable to reduce my timings? Am I entitled to overtime? How is it calculated and how do I claim it? Also, what if my boss refuses to pay me the overtime?
Answer: Pursuant to your queries, it is assumed that you are employed by a mainland company based in the emirate of Dubai. Therefore, the provisions of Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 Regulating Employment Relations in the UAE (the ‘Employment Law’) are applicable.
It should be noted that the daily working hours during the holy month of Ramadan are reduced by two (2) hours. This is in accordance with Article 65 of the Employment Law, which states: “The maximum normal working hours for adult employees shall be eight hours per day or forty-eight hours per week. However, working hours for the employees of commercial establishments, hotels, restaurants, watchmen and similar operations may be increased to nine hours per day as determined by the Minister of Human Resources & Emiratisation. Likewise, working hours per day in respect of hazardous work or work detrimental to health, may be decreased by decision of the Minister of Human Resources & Emiratisation. During the month of Ramadan, normal working hours shall be reduced by two hours…”
The Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation (the ‘MOHRE’) however states that employers who do not follow the rules regarding two (2) hours of reduced working hours during the holy month of Ramadan should pay overtime salary to its employees.
Such overtime salary may be calculated per the provisions of Article 67 and Article 68 of the Employment Law. Article 67 of the Employment Law states: “If circumstances of work necessitate that an employee works more than the normal working hours, the extra time shall be considered overtime, for which the employee shall receive remuneration equal to that corresponding to his normal working hours plus an extra of at least 25 per cent of such remuneration.”
Further, Article 68 of the Employment Law states: “If circumstance of work necessitate that an employee works overtime between 9pm and 4am, he shall be entitled to normal working hours pay plus an increase equal to at least 50 per cent of such pay.”
In the event your employer does not pay you overtime salary for working extra hours during the holy month of Ramadan, you may approach the MOHRE and file a complaint. But the onus is on you to prove with relevant documentary evidence that you have worked overtime than the usual hours of work during the holy month.