Tribune News Network
Non-compliance with the labour law regarding payment of minimum wage to workers will now attract a jail term of one year and a fine of up to QR10,000. Earlier, the penalty was one month imprisonment and a fine of QR6,000.
This was revealed by Fahad Al Dossary, Director of the Labor Inspection Department at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, on Sunday.
He said the decision to determine the minimum wage for foreign workers was issued after a thorough study by the authorities concerned and specialised research centres.
“A national committee concerned was formed and specialised research centres set up to set the minimum wage,” Al Dossary told Qatar TV.
Al Dossary said the minimum wage for the worker was set at QR1,000 as a basic salary. The worker is entitled to a housing allowance of QR500 and food allowance of QR300 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 QR1,000.
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 minimum wage will come into force six months after its publication in the Official Gazette.
Al Dossary indicated that the new law covers all workers, including domestic workers.
If a worker receives a salary that exceeds the minimum wage, the law will not affect their salaries, he added.
With regard to violation of the conditions and specifications of workers’ accommodation, Al Dosari said the violators will now face imprisonment for a period of six months and a fine of not less than QR2,000 and not more than QR100,000. In case of repeat violation, the penalties will be stiff, he added.
For his part, Director of Labor Relations Department Abdullah Al Dossary said the law facilitating the movement of workers has certain controls and conditions, most notably compensation to the former employer, non-competition, and the employee’s commitment to a notice period before changing his workplace.
Regarding changing the employer during the probation period, he said 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.
On the possibility of changing the employer to a competing one, he said 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 specialisation and activity, he added.
Regarding the worker leaving Qatar and returning to a new workplace, he 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, he added.
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.
He said there are three committees for resolving labour disputes. Each committee is headed by a judge. With the issuance of the new law, the number of labour dispute settlement committees has been increased to facilitate litigation procedures between the two parties.