Historic: Equal pay for men and women in UAE from today

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Starting today, a new law will come into force in the UAE to ensure equal pay for men and women in the private sector from 25th September. 

According to His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President’s latest decree, women will be paid as much as men for the same work and salaries will be determined by market conditions and not by gender.

“Female employees shall receive wages equal to that of males if they perform the same work, or another of equal value. The procedures, controls and standards necessary for evaluating work of equal value will be set under a decision to be issued by the Cabinet, based on a proposal from the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization,” the decree stated.

Article 32 of Federal Law No 08 of 1980 that talks about the regulation of labor relations will be amended with a view to improving gender equality in the private sector in terms of wages and salaries. The efforts to achieve gender equality in terms of wages were initiated by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratization by implementing a decree on 25 August.

The ministry emphasized that the new amendments would help to reinforce the regional and international role of the country in enhancing gender equality.

The law was welcomed as forward-looking and pro-women empowerment by women from the private sector. The decree is “a new positive step in the process of empowering women in the Emirates,” said Dr Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. He added that it will help build a modern state that enhances equality and justice.

According to the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum in 2020, the UAE leads the region’s countries in bridging the gender pay gap. The nation also ranks first in the Arab world and 26th globally on the 2019 Gender Inequality Index of the United Nations Development Program.

When setting up the UAE Gender Balance Council in 2015, the target set by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid was to rank among the top 25 countries in the world by 2021. In 2015, Emirati Women’s Day was launched by Sheikha Fatima, the Mother of the Nation, to recognize the crucial role of women in the country.