UAE WPS expansion welcome, but more must be done.

UAE WPS expansion welcome, but more must be done.

 

 

 

London - A recent tweet‚Äč from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation has suggested that there will be an expansion of the mandatory registering of businesses under the Wage Protection System (WPS) in the UAE.

 

The WPS, an electronic payment system introduced in 2009, is meant to ensure the timely distribution of wages among workers in the Emirates. A network of government-approved banks, bureaus de exchange and financial institutions, creates ample conditions for employers to pay wages to workers across the Emirates simultaneously. It also offers government agents the opportunity to conduct impromptu e-inspections and real-world drop-ins, where transactions can be checked and dated. 

 

A Zawya Report from this month indicated that the MoHRE has been actively monitoring the system, recording ‘more than 12,000 violations in 2022’, imposing administrative fines and legal action on those employers not complying with WPS policies. 

 

The expansion itself identifies new compulsory and voluntary professions that must be registered on the WPS. According to an article from the Gulf Insider, this expansion includes: 

 

  • Personal healthcare provider 
  • Personal trainers 
  • Personal tutors
  • Personal Public Relations Officers 
  • Private agriculture engineer 

 

Other voluntary professions include a number of domestic and physical labour professions that have been historically abused (often positions occupied by migrant workers) in the UAE, such as construction labourers, housekeepers, gardeners and drivers. 

 

Among a plethora of other issues, wage theft has been a consistent issue in the Emirates. Particularly, for migrant workers. In 2021, it was revealed by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre that 1,160 Bangladeshi workers had not been paid and had difficulties in accessing any justice pathways upon their return to home due to COVID restrictions. Historically, a major issue for workers in the UAE, impACT International welcomes the expansion of mandatory registration under the WPS and is a welcome step forward for addressing these issues. 

 

Additionally, February 1 2023 marked the deadline for employers to change ‘unlimited’ contracts (without end dates) to those with specified employment time frames.

 

Alongside evidence of clear intention to legally and financially punish those employers not complying with policy, this illustrates a promising future for workers in the UAE. ImpACT now urges those at MoHRE to now extend mandatory registration to those professions listed under ‘voluntary’. 

 

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