New changes to Qatar labor laws revealed by official

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Workers in Qatar
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Qatar’s government has placed stringent penalties for non-compliance with the labor law regarding payment of minimum wage to workers. 

The new regulation which was was revealed by Fahad Al Dossary, Director of the Labor Inspection Department at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs penalizes the offenders who do not honor the minimum wage cap for workers with a jail term of one year and a fine of up to $2746.50 from an earlier punishment of one-month imprisonment and a fine of $1647.90.

Mr. Al Dossary added that the decision to determine the minimum wage for foreign workers was issued after a thorough study by the authorities concerned and specialized research centers.

“A national committee concerned was formed and specialized research centers set up to set the minimum wage,” Mr. Al Dossary told Qatar’s national television channel.

The official said that the new law which covers all workers, including domestic workers, mandates a minimum wage for the worker was set at $274.65 as a basic salary. The worker is entitled to a housing allowance of $137.32 and a food allowance of $82.39 if the employer does not provide housing and food. If the employer is providing accommodation and food, then the worker is entitled to a minimum of $274.65.

He said the objective behind this move is to attract skilled workers, raise the economic level, and enhance the productivity of establishments.

The decision on the minimum wage will come into force six months after its publication in the Official Gazette.

If a worker receives a salary that exceeds the minimum wage, the law will not affect their salaries, he added.

Work conditions and Accommodations 

With regard to violation of the conditions and specifications of workers’ accommodation, Mr. Al Dosari said the violators will now face imprisonment for a period of six months and a fine of not less than $549.30 and not more than $27,464.98 with stiffer penalties on repeated violations.

Job transfer during probation

Mr. Al Dosari said that the worker has the right to change his workplace during the probation period, provided the new workplace compensates his previous employer ‘by paying part of the cost of recruitment’ and the cost of travel ticket.

The worker must give a month’s notice if in the job for two years or less and give two months’ notice if in the current job for more than two years.

During probation, workers should give at least a one-month notice. The new employer should compensate the former with an agreed payment that does not exceed the equivalent of two months of the worker’s basic wage.

The former employer is entitled to compensation during the probationary period for training fees, recruitment fees, and the value of the travel ticket.

After the probation period, the former employer is entitled to compensation if there is an agreement between the two parties on the training fee.

Transfer to a competitor 

On the possibility of changing the employer to a competing one, the official stated that there must be a clause stipulated in the work contract about non-competition and there are conditions and controls for competition.

The worker is prohibited from transferring the secrets of the previous employer, and the employee is not allowed to move to a new entity competing with the previous one in the same specialization and activity, he added.

Shifting to a new job after leaving Qatar once

Regarding the worker leaving Qatar and returning to a new workplace, Mr. Al Dosari said if the worker leaves the country without notifying his employer and completing the notice period, he is not permitted to return to work in Qatar with another employer for one year.

In case of the worker leaving the country following disciplinary termination of his work contract by the employer in accordance with Article 61 of the Labor Law, and the worker abides by the conditions and controls, he can return to work in Qatar again, the official added.

Cancellation of Contract

On the possibility of the employer canceling the work contract unilaterally, Al Dossary said the employer can terminate the contract with the worker in accordance with the regulations and laws.

Labor disputes 

The official stated that there are three committees for resolving labor disputes. Each committee is headed by a judge. With the issuance of the new law, the number of labor dispute settlement committees has been increased to facilitate litigation procedures between the two parties.