Qatar announces reforms in labor laws, Nepali workers expected to benefit

Qatar is among the major destination countries for Nepalis to go for employment. Around 4,00,000 Nepalis are estimated to be working in Qatar in various sectors.

Qatar is among the major destination countries for Nepalis to go for employment. Around 4,00,000 Nepalis are estimated to be working in Qatar in various sectors.

NL Today

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: The State of Qatar has announced a number of new measures in its labor law which are expected to benefit both Qatari as well as foreign workers,  according to the report unveiled by the Ministry of Labor of Qatar. 

According to the report, exit permits have been abolished for workers in public bodies and institutions, the oil and gas sector and affiliated companies, maritime transport, agriculture and farming, and private offices, among others. As per this provision, the workers can now leave without the need for permission from their employers.

The change in law also enables both employees and employers to terminate the employment contract without stating the reasons for such termination, provided that due notice is given. “The notice must be given one month in advance for the first and second year of employment, and two months in advance after the second year of employment,” says the report. The Ministry has set up an electronic notice service (E-notice) for the termination of contract or change of employer.

Likewise, the National Minimum Wage for Workers and Domestic Workers has been issued. Employers are required to pay workers a basic monthly wage of at least 1,000 QAR. Moreover, if the employer does not provide adequate accommodation or food for the worker, they shall pay a minimum housing allowance of 500 QAR per month and a minimum food allowance of 300 QAR per month.

According to the report, the Wage Protection System (WPS), which implements and enforces a non-discriminatory minimum wage, has been upgraded to ensure better clarity and transparency in calculating wages. Allowances for food and housing and overtime pay have been integrated into the system’s configuration. The system can also detect payments below the minimum wage. More than 1.66 million workers are registered in the Wage Protection System. Further protection measures have been announced with regard to maximum working hours, weekly rest days, overtime compensation and sick leaves says the report.

The change in law also enables both employees and employers to terminate the employment contract without stating the reasons for such termination, provided that due notice is given.

The Ministry of Law is also seeking to provide legal consultation to workers or employees with the help of its pool of translators covering all languages spoken by foreign workers. Interpreters are also available at the Dispute Settlement Committees, whose services are available for workers without any fees.  The workers or employees wishing to receive legal advice can meet with a legal expert from the Labour Relations Department during official working hours.

Photo: Amnesty International

Measures have also been announced to protect workers from heat stress. The new legislation introduced significant changes, such as specifying the maximum temperature above which all work shall be suspended and granting workers the right to set the pace of work themselves and to take breaks when needed. The Ministry also carries out annual awareness and inspection campaigns to ensure compliance with the prohibition of work in outdoor places during summer and the protection of workers from heat stress. 

The National Committee for Combating Human Trafficking, says the report, undertakes national coordination efforts to monitor, prevent and combat trafficking in persons, by coordinating with competent authorities, intensifying awareness and inspection campaigns, strengthening international cooperation, sharing experiences and holding several training sessions to build the capacities of the authorities and individuals entrusted with combating trafficking in persons, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the ILO and the US and UK embassies. The Committee also seeks to protect and assist victims, by offering them adequate shelters. 

Qatar is among the major destination countries for Nepalis to go for employment. Around 4,00,000 Nepalis are estimated to be working in Qatar in various sectors.

ncell_ad