Wages Protection System in United Arab Emirates

David Kambo


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    The UAE Wages Protection System (UAEWPS) is an electronic salary transfer system that allows institutions and organizations in the private sector to pay their employees through banks, exchange bureaus, and financial institutions approved by the UAE Central Bank to provide the service.

    UAEWPS was introduced in 2009 by the UAE Central Bank to meet the desired objectives of the Ministry of Labour. The purpose of WPS is to ensure wages are paid on time and in full. The initial objective was to protect the rights and interests of blue-collar workers but has transformed to require all salaries paid in the private sector under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization (MOHRE) and Economic Free zones be remitted via WPS. Currently Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) is the only free zone that has fully adopted the use of WPS. All government entities and public sector institutions are exempted from WPS compliance.

    Employers prepare and send employee salary and account details to WPS via a SIF file format.

    The parties involved in the WPS cycle are outlined as follows:

    • Employers – Any company registered in UAE Mainland and JAFZA.
    • Employees – Any individual working in the private sector and has labour card issued by the Ministry of Labour
    • Banks – The financial institution where the employer holds an account with, and which is used to transfer wages to the appointed agent.
    • Agents – Any bank, bureau de change or financial institution approved by UAE Central Bank to offer wages transfer to employees via WPS.

    The model adopted by the UAE Central bank is where information flows from the employer via WPS to one or more of the contracted agents for payment of the wages to the employees. The funds from the employer are secured by CBUAE prior to dispatching of information to the agents.

    The WPS cycle is explained below in the following infographic;

    Employer – Employer Bank – CBUAE – Agent Bank – Agent – Employee Bank/Employee

    HLB HAMT has all the mechanisms and resources to provide WPS payroll services to our clients. We have put in place the technology and human expertise that guarantees a smooth and error-free WPS cycle for our clients and payroll partners.


    1. How can one register with WPS?
      Registration can be done by contacting the bank which the employer holds a corporate account or through an authorized exchange house.
    2. Is WPS registration mandatory?
      Yes, salary transfer via WPS is mandatory for every private company under MOHRE Jurisdiction and companies registered within JAFZA and should cover at least 70% of the employee head count.
    3. What are the advantages of WPS?
      • Ensures that the agreed-upon wages are paid on time
      • Provides advanced solutions that help employers safeguard their own interests and reduce the hassles associated with paying the employees.
      • Improves job security, at the same time ensuring transparency
      • Ensures that the UAE Ministry of Labour is updated on wages data in the private sector
      • Helps in taking measures to reduce labor disputes regarding wages.
    4. Can one process salary payments via WPS in a foreign currency?
      The only authorized currency of remittance is the UAE Dirham. WPS payments must be made to a bank account registered in the UAE.
    5. Which payments to employees are processed via WPS?
      All salary must be processed via WPS. However, if employees receive any other form of payments from the employer other than salary payments, then these too can be processed via WPS.
    6. Can a group of companies make all the salary payments for all staff via one SIF file?
      No, every company under the group should make their salary payments separately. WPS does not permit the mixing of payments from different companies in one SIF file.
    7. How many SIF files can be sent by a company in one month?
      There is no limit to the number of files that a company can send out in one month.
    8. What is the minimum salary that can be processed via WPS?
      The salary and other allowances payable to the employee as agreed in the contract should be processed via WPS.
    9. What is the maximum number of employees whose salary can be processed with one file?
      There is no limit to the number of employees whose salary is processed in one SIF file.
    10. Should End of Service Benefits be processed via WPS?
      It is not mandatory to process EOSB and gratuity payments via WPS.
    11. What are fines for evading WPS?
      These fines apply for actions involving fraudulent use of the WPS:

      • Entry of incorrect data in the WPS for the purposes of evasion or circumvention – AED 5,000 for each worker and a maximum limit of AED 50,000 in case of multiple workers
      • Failure to pay on due dates through the WPS – AED1,000 per employee
      • Forcing employees to sign fake pay slips showing that they received their salaries – AED 5,000 per employee.

    SIF Files composition.
    1. Employee details are found on the EDR rows
    Column A – Employee Details Record
    Column B – Employee 14-digit labour card number.
    Column C – Bank routing code.
    Column D – Employee bank account number.
    Column E – Start date of salary
    Column F – End date of salary
    Column G – Number of days salary paid
    Column H – Fixed or Basic Salary of Employee.
    Column I – Variable Salary
    Column J – No of Leave
    2. The last row has the employer details as follows
    Column A – SCR column (Salary control record)
    Column B – 13-digit Agent ID.
    Column C – 9-digit bank Routing Code.
    Column D – File creation date
    Column E – Time of file creation
    Column F – Payroll Month and year
    Column G – No of records in the file.
    Column H – Total amount of salary paid.
    Column I – Payment currency which is in AED.
    Column J – Optional field.

    A sample SIF file looks as below


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