The Qatar Labor Law is a set of rules and regulations that spell out the legal rights, responsibilities, and constraints that workers, employers, and workers committees have. The Qatar Labor Law should be followed by all parties involved.
Who is Covered by the Employment Act?
Employees, independent contractors, and dependent contractors are examples of different employees.
These employees are identified by the types of jobs and their relationship with the company. Employees have common law, statutory, and rights that the firm may have. They may include overtime pay, vacation time, and other benefits. Independent contractors may not have access to all benefits, while dependent contractors do. The Qatar Labor Laws encompass all of these employees.
Employers in Qatar are required to offer workers either a contract of employment (Service Contract) or an official letter of agreement outlining the terms of work. Employers can draft employment contracts in English, but the Qatar Ministry of Labor only accepts the Arabic version as official. It is recommended that a notary attests to all employment documentation.
According to the country’s law, an employment contract between an employee and an employer does not have to be in writing if they reach a verbal agreement. However, a written agreement provides a concrete foundation for the employer-employee relationship. Therefore, if an employment agreement is established without a written contract, there must be substantial proof.
Employers should include the following information in the contract:
- Job title and responsibilities
- Personal data, including Qatar ID number
- If relevant, the start and end dates of your employment.
- Duration of the notice time
- Period of probation
- Annual leaves
- Benefits and compensation
Because of the more significant requirements and terms, the employment contract takes precedence over local Qatar labor laws. However, some rules offer specific protection to employers and employees irrespective of a contract.
An employment contract’s duration is usually open-ended. It ranges from a regular two-year contract to one that lasts indefinitely until the given task is completed or when either party cancels it. In addition, employers can extend the contract’s tenure with the approval of both the employer and the employee.
Types of employment contracts
There are two types of employment contracts in Qatar:
The employee will work for the employer for the length of time specified in the agreement, which usually does not exceed five years. After the probation period (as stated in the contract), if either party wants to terminate the contract, both parties must agree on it. If the employee disagrees with the termination, the employer must pay employee benefits and compensation.
The employee will be working for the employer indefinitely. After the commitment period of the notice, either party (worker or employer) may terminate it anytime without giving a reason. If an employee has worked with the company for less than five years, they must serve a one-month notice period. However, if they’ve been in the company for over five years, the notice period is two months. Employers must pay the due wages and benefits in full for the notice period if the employee performs their regular full-time duties.
Key Provisions of the Act
Qatar labor law entitles employees to certain benefits and regulates working conditions. To begin with, employees must not work for more than six days per week or more than ten hours each day. Additionally, if an employee works more than eight hours per day, they will be paid overtime.
Let’s look at some other fundamentals of Qatar labor law:
On September 8, 2020, a new law went into effect that gave all private-sector workers the right to a new national minimum wage, revising the relevant provisions of the Qatar Labor Law that had previously applied. The rate is subject to annual ministerial review, with a Minimum Wage Commission providing input to the review.
Under the national minimum wage, the wage includes basic pay, an accommodation allowance, and a food allowance. According to the new federal minimum wage law, the current monthly basic income is QAR1,000 ($275).
The minimum monthly lodging allowance is QAR500 ($137), and the minimum monthly food allowance is QAR300 ($82). Employers must raise workers’ pay if they fall below the minimum wage, and employees who are not paid a set wage must be reimbursed if their monthly earnings total less than the minimum wage.
A restrictive covenant is a condition in the employment contract that prohibits an ex-employee from competing with his former employer for a specified period after leaving the company. It also prohibits the ex-employee from soliciting or dealing with customers using information gained during employment.
Previously, employers could incorporate ‘non-compete’ terms in employment contracts that may last up to two years after termination. Non-compete agreements, on the other hand, are currently limited to one year in length.
Previously, employees with less than five years of service were entitled to a statutory minimum notice time of one month when employers terminated their employment contracts. Employees with more than five years of service were entitled to a minimum notice period of two months. In the case of employees who wanted to end their employment contracts with their employer, the same rules applied.
Under the new system, employees with less than two years of service must give one month’s notice, while those with more than two years must provide two months’ notice.
If the employee has been working for more than three months and can prove the reason for their illness through a medical certificate written by an authorized physician, the employee is entitled to sick leave. A worker is entitled to full pay for any sick leave that lasts shorter than two weeks.
Any further four weeks of sick leave are paid at half pay, and any sick leave taken beyond that is not paid. If a physician indicates that the employee cannot work after the twelfth week of sickness, they may fire the employee. When an employee resigns, the employer is obligated to pay any outstanding balance on their benefits.
There are several statutory leaves for Qatari employees that employers provide. Some of these leaves are:
Official Public Holidays:
Eight mandatory official public holidays are given to all the employees. A 3-day leave is given to the employees to celebrate Eid El-Fitr, and a similar leave period is provided for Eid Al-Adha. One holiday is provided for Independence Day, and the other remaining one is given on National Sports Day.
The employees can also avail themselves of annual leaves under article 79 of the Qatar Labour Law. An employee is entitled to three weeks of annual leave if they have been with the company for less than five years, and they can take a leave for about four weeks if they have worked for more than five years with the company.
Overtime is defined as any additional hours an employee works outside of their regular working hours. According to Article 74, an employee is entitled to an additional payment equivalent to their standard wage plus a bonus of at least 25% for extra hours worked outside of regular working hours. If the overtime occurs between 9 p.m. and 4 am on a working day, the employee is entitled to their regular pay plus 50% more. If an employee works on a specified rest day, they are entitled to standard compensation plus a 150% rise, according to Article 75. Overtime hours are limited to a total of two hours each day.
Typically, a regular week for Qatari employees is 48 hours (eight hours per day), excluding lunch break. Except for shift employees, Friday is the weekly rest day for all employees. However, employees who work on holidays are entitled to a day off as compensated time and an additional 50% of the basic wage.
Throughout Ramadan, the working week is lowered to 36 hours per week and six hours per day with one or more break intervals. During scorching summer days, the Labor Ministry may prohibit all outside labor or mandate that working hours be extended into the night.
Overtime is defined as an hour spent working over the regulatory restrictions for regular working hours. The business must pay the employee at least the base wage plus 25% for the additional working hours.
For juveniles, different rules apply in Qatar. For instance, a juvenile may not work between sunset and sunrise, on day-offs, during official holidays, or longer than the usual working hours. Also, employers should not retain them in the workplace for more than seven hours.
Those who violate the Labor Statute face penalties according to the violated provisions. For example, fines ranging from QAR2,000 ($549) to QAR100,000 ($27,463) might be charged, with fines potentially being doubled for repeat offenses. In some situations, the government may impose a sentence of up to one year in prison.
Compliance Strategies for Employers
To comply with Qatar’s Federal Labor Regulations in Qatar and employment laws, employers must stay educated about the numerous rules established by HR. Managerial training to stay current on the nitty-gritty of Qatar labor law and regulations and HR policies can help businesses stay on top of legal employment issues.
How Can Multiplier Help?
Since Qatar has stringent labor rules, setting up a team of experts to understand and elucidate local labor laws can help employers comply with all policies. One of the best practices for protecting the organization and its employees is establishing standard employment contracts.
With Multiplier you can generate employment contracts for Qatar in a few clicks. Our experts are well-versed with the Qatari laws, and hence, we’ll handle all such issues, allowing you to focus on your business growth.