The Wages Protection System (WPS) is an electronic wage payment system introduced by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) and the Central Bank of the UAE, to regulate for timely and accurate payment of wages, and to monitor employer compliance with the requirements.
All employers in the UAE must pay wages electronically, not by cheque or cash, through authorised agents – banks, exchange houses, and financial institutions.
You can read the full details about WPS in our complete guide here but read on for a quick checklist for payroll managers.
If you are a new employer, you’ll need to register on the WPS
All private companies in the UAE must be registered, you can do this easily on mohre.gov.ae.
- Company bank account details
- Details of the bank/agent that you’ll use to issue salary payments (must be registered with MOHRE)
- Employee list and details of their bank/ financial institution
- Date for salary payment.
Some employee categories are exempt from WPS
Employees excluded from WPS:
- Employees who filed a labour complaint referred to the court
- Employees who have been reported absent from work as per a ‘work abandonment’ report
- New employees, within thirty days of the wage due date
- Employees on unpaid leave
- Sailors working onboard ships
- Foreign employees receiving wages outside of the country while working in foreign establishments or branches within the country
- Employees outside the UAE.
The following categories of employers are excluded also:
- UAE nationals owning fishing boats
- UAE nationals owning public taxis
- Houses of Worship
- Public sector institutions and government entities.
WPS salary requirements
The WPS mandates the following for employers in the UAE:
- You must pay at least 80% of all staff (allowing for some unpaid leave)
- You must pay at 80% of each employee’s wage
- No more than 10% of an employee’s salary can be deducted for any reason
- Salaries must be paid from 1st – 15th of the month, and must be paid at least once per month
- Employee’s wages are due from the first day of the month following the expiry of the period for which the wages are specified in the employment contract
- If the period is not specified in the employment contract, the employee must be paid at least once a month
- The employer is in default of paying the wage if he does not pay it within the first 15 days after the due date, unless a shorter period has been agreed in the employment contract
- You, the employer, must agree to meet any fees or charges incurred with salary payment
- You must submit a Salary Information File to MOHRE.
Prepare and submit your Salary Information File (SIF)
You’ll need to prepare and submit a Salary Information File, you can find our handy template here.
The file first goes through your WPS agent who checks for errors before submission to the WPS. Once you have submitted the SIF to the WPS, the MOHRE, in collaboration with the Central Bank of the UAE, will conduct a WPS salary check to ensure that all the details in the SIF are accurate and meet the WPS requirements.
When approved, the MOHRE and the central bank will issue a payment order to your WPS agent.
If there are errors on the SIF, you will receive an email requesting you to update the SIF and correct the identified errors.
Non-compliance with the WPS requirements
Employers will be considered non-compliant if they fail to pay wages to their employees within 15 days of the due date, fail to pay 80% of the total wages of eligible employees, or 80% of each employee’s total salary. Non-compliance will result in the penalties outlined below.
- By the third and tenth day after the due date
- Reminders and notifications will be sent to non-compliant establishments to pay outstanding wages
- By the seventeenth day after the due date
- Issuance of new work permits will be suspended. A notice stating the reason for the suspension will be sent to the employer
- Establishments employing more than 50 employees will be listed in the Electronic Monitoring and Inspection System & inspections will be scheduled. An inspector will conduct inspections and issue warnings as necessary.
For companies employing more than 50 employees:
- 45 days after the due date
- In addition to notifying the public prosecutor, the establishment details will be forwarded to the competent authorities at the federal and local levels in order to pursue legal action as appropriate. The concerned department within the Ministry will follow up on these actions.
- In the event that the establishment commits the violation again within 6 months
- In accordance with Cabinet Resolution No. 21 of 2020, an administrative fine will be imposed.
- Reclassification of the establishment to category (3) in accordance with Ministerial Resolution No. 209 of 2022.
Other forms of non-compliance:
For companies that intentionally provide incorrect data for the purpose of evading wages or salary payment, there is a fine of AED 5,000 per affected worker, up to a maximum of AED 50,000 for multiple workers.
Similarly, companies that force workers to sign a fake payment slip as a way of avoiding wages or salaries payment will pay a fine of AED 5,000 per affected worker.