Qatar unveils new minimum wage policy; restraint on job transfers removed

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) has introduced a minimum wage and removed a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) requirement to change jobs for employees.

The new law (No. 17 of 2020) which will be applicable for all private-sector workers, including domestic workers mandates a minimum basic wage of $274.6 (1,000 Qatari Riyals) along with a $137.32 (500 Qatari Riyals) per month allocation towards accommodation another $82.39 (300 Qatari Riyals) per month for food unless the employer already provides adequate food or accommodation for the employee or domestic worker.

The minimum wage was decided following extensive consultations with a specialized national committee composed of relevant authorities in Qatar to consider the matter. The law is the first of its kind in the Middle East and will provide additional stability to Qatar’s labor market.

ADLSA will work towards updating all employment contracts where workers earn less than the amount established by the new law, which will come into force after 6 months of its publication in the official gazette.

A Minimum Wage Committee is expected to be formed to frequently study and review the minimum wage of workers and domestic workers.

No-Objection Certificate (NOC)

Qatar also introduced Decree-Law No. 18 of 2020 amending some provisions of Labour Law No. 14 of 2004 and Decree-Law No. 19 of 2020 amending some provisions of 2004 Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, which protects the rights of both employers and employees and facilitates the employer change process. This will drive greater competition in Qatar’s labor market by allowing employees to change employers and allowing employers to attract the best talent in the local market.

The new revisions to the Labour Law mandate stricter penalties for employers who fail to pay their workers’ wages and introduce penalties for employers who fail to provide adequate accommodation for their workers, in line with the standards established by the Ministry.

The new amendments also include increasing the number of labor dispute resolution committees in an effort to tackle the number of labor disputes, facilitate workers’ access to the rights, and expedite legal proceedings.

HE Yousuf Mohamed Al Othman Fakhroo, Minister of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs, said, “The State of Qatar is committed to creating a modern and dynamic labor market. In line with Qatar Vision 2030, these new laws mark a major milestone in this journey and will benefit workers, employers, and the nation alike.”

To ensure compliance with the changes, ADLSA is working with competent authorities to upgrade the Wage Protection System, strengthen the capacity of inspectors, and apply stricter penalties to companies that violate the law.