Labour Dispute

Labour Dispute (Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs)


In case of a dispute between the employee and the employer, how can either of them proceed with a case?

Where there is a dispute between the employee and the employer, an application must be made to the Ministry in the emirate in which the employers establishment is located. The complaint must be submitted in writing to the complaints department at the Ministry, setting out a summary of the facts, calculation of the amount due, and enclosing a copy of the labour contract.

The employer or the employee will be summoned to state their respective cases before the labour office at the Ministry who must make a recommendation within two weeks from the date in which the application is filed. Should the party fail to settle the dispute as recommended by the Ministry, the matter will then have to be referred to court to be litigated in the normal manner. In such a case, the Ministry will issue a summary of the facts of the case, and a memorandum together with its recommendation, and the arguments put forward by both parties. Within three days from the date the application is received, the court will schedule a hearing and summon the other party to hear the matter.

Should the application to the labour office and the court be made within a specified time limit?

A complaint by either the employer or the employee must be made to the labour office within one year from the date in which the amount or the entitlement becomes due otherwise it will be time bared. In other words, the one-year time period does not start running from the date of termination, but rather from the date the amount becomes due and unpaid.

In calculating time according to the Law, the Gregorian calendar is used. Years are calculated as 365 days and months as 30 days. However, filing an action before the Ministry will suspend the time from running. If the Ministry fails to transfer the case to court within two weeks, the employee may then proceed to court without referral from the Ministry.

Is the employer or the employee liable to pay court fees if the matter is referred to court?

Employees are exempt from paying court fees. This exemption also applies if an appeal is filed at the court of appeal. However, should a matter fail to be settled at the Ministry, an employer who elects to proceed with court action must pay court fees, which are normally based on a percentage of the amount in dispute.

Is there a different rule for complaints filed by a group of employees against one employer?

The Law provides slightly different provisions regarding claims made by a number of employees of the same establishment who file a complaint against their employer. It may take longer to be settled at the Ministry and the Ministry may form a committee to settle such disputes.

Q: I have been working in a company for almost two years on  unlimited contract. Last year, my company made me and other staff sign on a letter stating that I have received my labour rights. I’ve received nothing for some reason, but had to sign. My question here is; If I leave the company do I have any rights to end-of-service gratuity as I’ve already signed a letter. What is my legal position in terms of such a letter? Will I lose my labour rights for such a letter and how can I prove before the court that I have not received my rights? 

A: According to Dubai Cassation Court, the signing of an employee on a letter states that he has received his labour right of end-of-service gratuity while he is in the position and before the expiry of his contract, such signing away is deemed invalid as at the time of signing by the employee the rights were not due yet and such a signature is invalid. Through such invalidity, the law wants to protect the worker from the employer. 

Labour Help Line: 800 665