Employees entitled to overtime allowance in 'cash': Court

If an employee puts in two or more extra hours of work a day, he is legally entitled to overtime payment in cash, according to the Dubai Court of Cassation.

And, in labour disputes, the court alone can decide whether a worker was paid the salary mentioned in the employment contract, the court said.

The court was hearing a case brought by a project manager against his employer.

The court ruled that the employee is entitled to leave allowance of

Dh31,000 because the employer could not prove that the allowance had been paid to him.

The court also ordered payment of Dh62,500 to the employee, being the total of his dues and end-of-service benefits.

The court also ordered the employee to be paid cash compensation for

652 hours of overtime at the rate of four hours per day.

The court rejected the company’s justifications for not paying overtime allowance for more than two hours per day.

The plaintiff had filed a lawsuit against his employer in the Labour Court, pleading that the employee be ordered to pay Dh718,000 as compensation for unfair dismissal after eight months of service. He was sacked while on annual leave and the company had refused to pay him end-of-service benefits based on his monthly salary of Dh62,500.

The plaintiff defined his dues as the last month's salary and one month's salary for warning in addition to three months’ salary as compensation for unfair termination.

He also demanded Dh169,000 as overtime allowance, Dh31,000 as annual leave allowance in addition to Dh28,000 as gratuity and Dh5,000 for return ticket to his country.

The Court of First Instance ordered the company to pay to the employee Dh62,500.

The plaintiff then went before the Court of Appeal which changed the figure to Dh276,000.

The employed then challenged this ruling before the Court of Cassation, saying the employee’s salary is Dh32,000 as per the employment contract, not Dh62,500 as claimed by the employee.

The company also challenged the calculation of overtime of 652 hours because that means the employee was working more than two additional hours a day in violation of the Labour Code.

The Court of Cassation rejected the company's arguments, saying the burden of proving whether an employee was paid salary, overtime and other benefits is on the employer. In this case, the employer had failed to furnish sufficient proof.

The court also said the bank’s statement of account showed that the employee’s monthly salary was Dh62,500 and not Dh32,000 as claimed by the company.

Regarding overtime, the court rejected the employer’s arguments on the basis of Article 67 of the Labour Code which restricts overtime to no more than two hours a day except in cases of work to prevent massive loss or serious accident. Also, the plaintiff had submitted overtime statements certified by the employer, the Court of Cassation said in its verdict.

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