My employer is trying to force me to work overtime but I am not willing to work additional hours. Do I have to? Do I have any rights and what can I do?
The hours that an employee may work are set out in UAE Labour Law. Article 65 states: “the maximum number of ordinary working hours for adult workers shall be eight hours per day, or 48 hours per week. The number of hours may be increased to nine hours per day for people employed in trade, hotels, cafeterias, security and other jobs whose addition may be made by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labour.
Furthermore, the daily number of working hours may be reduced for strenuous or harmful works and such by virtue of a decision from the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.” An employer may request that an employee works up to another two hours per working day and must pay them an additional 25 per cent above their standard wage for all work that takes place up to 9pm. Any overtime that takes place between the hours of 9pm and 4am is payable with an uplift of 50 per cent of salary.
It should be noted that in accordance with Article 72 of Labour Law, the standard overtime provisions, in respect of overtime payments, do not apply to “persons occupying high-ranked managerial or supervisory positions, should such positions confer upon the occupants thereof powers of the employer over the workers”. This is generally accepted to apply to anyone in a supervisory or management position.
No employer should force an employee to work overtime, but it is common for a contract of employment to include a clause with wording to the effect that if the employer requests it, the employee will be expected to work additional hours owing to the demands of a business. If an employee has agreed to such a condition then it will be enforceable.