As the deadline for UAE companies to pay employee salaries through the Ministry of Labour-backed Wages Protection System (WPS) draws near, employers are increasingly turning to technology to ensure that the salary payment records sent to banks are accurate and fair.The WPS, which has been made mandatory by the UAE Ministry of Labour to ensure fair and timely wages to all employees, requires every employer to choose any registered agent (banks, exchange houses and financial institutions) to join the WPS. Each month, on receiving a detailed statement of each worker’s wages, the agent will send the information electronically to WPS. The WPS will then send the salary file to the agent for payment. Each employee, who will be issued an Electronic Card, will then withdraw the amount from the agent’s Cash Dispensing Machines.The deadline for implementing the WPS depends on the size of the company. Firms with more than 100 workers should register themselves before November 30, 2009; companies with a workforce of 15 to 99 by February 28, 2010; and companies with less than 15 workers before May 31, 2010. Companies failing to meet the deadline will be denied new work permits and employees will not have any means for drawing their salaries.The state-of-the-art WPS has put the spotlight on technology as far as the employers are concerned. Some solution providers specialising in attendance management, payroll and human resource management systems are reporting a sudden surge in enquiries.“The WPS is a laudable initiative from the government. However, companies need to upgrade their attendance management systems in order to ensure that employees are paid exactly for the hours they worked, nothing more, nothing less,” says Praveen Bhandari, Director, Adventure Middle East, a leading IT solution provider.“The WPS system has put the focus on new-generation attendance management systems that allow a company to exercise firm control on monthly payroll bills by accurately capturing the attendance of each employee and the number of hours he clocks in, through an Automated Attendance Management System,” said Bhandari.The Automated Attendance Management System not only saves a lot in monetary terms by generating accurate payroll, but also strengthens employee/employer work relations. One can make substantial savings by not paying for ‘un-informed absenteeism’ and ‘unauthorized overtime’ – which can be as much as 20-30% of the total payroll bill. This way WPS will also help safeguard the interests of both parties.“The WPS system will mean the end of manual payroll for companies. Manual payrolls can cause different problems, including dependence on dedicated staff for payroll and human errors With the WPS, one more complete process will be introduced in every organization and flawless implementation of any process is always a big challenge,” added Bhandari.Employers are now keen to upgrade their salary calculation systems, as a dedicated WPS office in the Ministry of Labour will monitor all salary payouts. The system will feed the Ministry with the necessary database and information of all salary payments in the private sector to enable the Ministry have credible information on salary payments.In order to comply with the WPS, a company has to open an account with any WPS agent (Bank, exchange centre or any other financial institution). The company then enters into an agreement with a WPS agent that is approved and authorized by the Central Bank to provide this service. The employer shall issue instructions to its bank to transfer wages to workers, accompanied by a detailed wage list and a copy of the list should be sent to the agent.