Changes to Qatar’s Labor Law, including a provision to pay workers their salaries directly into their bank accounts, could be made by the end of this year, the nation’s labor minister has suggested.
During a meeting with newspaper editors to discuss countering negative international criticism of Qatar, Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Dr. Abdullah Saleh Mubarak Al Khulaifi offered an update on the status of much-awaited changes to the labor law.
He said that several proposed revisions to the law are expected to be discussed by Qatar’s Advisory (Shura) Council at its next session, according to the Qatar Tribune.
If the council approves the changes, they then require the Emir’s signature before coming into effect.
The e-payment Wage Protection Scheme is one of a number of measures the government has proposed in a bid to better protect the rights of expat workers in Qatar. Other revisions to the exit permit and no objection certificate requirements are expected to make it easier for expats to leave the country and change jobs.
All non-Qatari workers are bound by the rules of the state’s kafala (sponsorship) system, which has been heavily criticized by international media and human rights organizations for being too restrictive.
In May this year, the government announced a series of reforms to the system and the Labor Law which they said would improve workers’ rights, although many critics said the scope of these changes did not go far enough, and no timeline was given for the introduction of the new measures.
Before Eid Al Fitr in July, the labor minister promised that the reforms would be made “as quickly as possible,” although he did add that a number of groups still had to be consulted on the changes.
Qatar’s business community had initially voiced its concern over the new rules, which many of its members felt went too far. However, the Chamber of Commerce, which represents the business sector, finally gave its approval of the changes last month.
Missed and late wage payments are among the top complaints expressed by Qatar’s blue collar workforce. In July this year, the Cabinet approved a draft law that would make it mandatory for all companies to pay their workers by electronic bank transfer at least every two weeks.
The new system, which would be created and handled by Qatar Central Bank, and supported by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), also makes it easier to track payments.
Fielding questions, Al Khulaifi also ruled out setting a minimum wage, saying that such a move would compromise Qatar’s “free economy,” which operates according to supply and demand, The Peninsula reports.
Finally, the labor minister said plans were underway to build five “labor cities.” The huge accommodation sites would be dotted across Qatar, with the capacity to house some 25,000 workers, and be built in coordination with the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP).
He added that the plans were not in response to criticism Qatar has faced from international media over workers’ rights, but rather part of a strategy devised five years ago to accommodate the state’s rapidly increasing workforce, as it strives to meet looming deadlines for its numerous, big infrastructure projects.
Barwa Real Estate has developed the first of these, the Barwa al Baraha complex in the Industrial Area. Expected to accommodate around 20,000 workers, facilities on the site will include four dining halls and two mosques.
Another 20,000 residents are expected to be housed in the next phase, which is currently under construction and is expected to be completed within 18 months.
A final phase in the 1.8 million sqm development will contain a medical clinic and accommodate senior staff in single-bedroom units.
More like the re-naming ceremony?
But let’s see, maybe there will be fundamental changes for the better? I’ll have another one of those please.
This is a very bizarre statement:
Al Khulaifi also ruled out setting a minimum wage, saying that such a move would compromise Qatar’s “free economy,” which operates according to supply and demand, The Peninsula reports.
The most important thing is setting a minimum wage.. It’s more critical and more important to the blue collar workers than an NOC… A wage of 1,500 plus ensuring housing, food and transport.. Plus health care will go way longer to help those in need ..
NOC will help your western expat who thinks he’s worth more than he’s being paid (why stay I say, right?)… Almost all cases as long as you’ve worked a year with your current employer an noc is not a big deal.. Unless your a complete pooh hole (or your employer is)…
But if you think you’ll be able to shop for a better paying job… Lol good luck… Your under estimating the Qatari will power to bite his own arm off than pay you better…
The first thing you’ll be asked is a copy of your last pay slip… And add 5% if your lucky… And if you try to find a new third job.. No one will higher an expat whose jumped two boats…
And with income tax high and economy in Europe still in the toilet … They’re will never be a shortage of younger less experienced “experts” who will settle for less than you and the cost of keeping you and your whole family…
Remember Doha says it wants the best but it’s very willing to settle for mediocre
I don’t care what a Qatari would pay me, I’m not paid by a Qatari now nor am I planning on getting paid by a Qatari. And I don’t care about NOC or the kafala system for personal gain.
bite the bullet – surprise the world by exceeding expectations … please
It’s like being in a time-warp where you read the same news over and over again.
Now you know how Bill Murray must have felt.
will Punxsutawney Phil be putting in a re-appearance every time this topic is ‘almost’ announced?
Yeah, I love this line: “Changes to Qatar’s Labor Law, including a provision to pay workers their salaries directly into their bank accounts, could be made by the end of this year, the nation’s labor minister has suggested.”
Well, lots of things COULD happen by the end of this year. I could contract Ebola. George Clooney could leave Amal Alamuddin for me. There could be peace in the Middle East. I feel that any those other scenarios are more likely than Qatar making meaningful change on its labor issues by the end of this year.
Ha-ha. Here we are, at the end of the year, and . . .
It’s getting exciting…
They want to to be a role model over other GCC states yet they are far worse in Labour rights among them . Is this the vision they are seeking for Qatar 2030 . Modern Slavery is still practiced by the following :
1. the above statement “Al Khulaifi also ruled out setting a minimum wage, saying that such a move would compromise Qatar’s “free economy,” which operates according to supply and demand”
2. Children born to Qatari Mothers or Family of Generation over Generation in Qatar without any rights .
All this is because of the Fifa world cup pressure . its not due to Humanity reasons or rights !!!!! What A Shame .
every two weeks??? I think all salaries in Qatar are monthly…
Yes what a strange thing to say, it is not the frequency of payment that is in question, it is just making sure everyone gets paid on time as per their contract which is important.
Ok so what else is on TV?
I’ll reserve judgement until I see the changes in writing. I must admit I am not optimistic but who knows. (Well the guys in the government know and they are not telling yet….)
Better late than NEVER.
you NEVER know, unfortunately….
The funny thing is most people commentating on her say nice words about the low income expats in Qatar but in reality don’t care about them. All they care about is getting an NOC and dumping their present employer as soon as possible and getting more money.
As long as the new law says NOC for all, they will be dancing in the streets. (Well until they realise no one want to employ them and they are not worth an extra 50QR a month)
Did you have a difficult childhood?
No, not at all. I’m just observing human nature here. The low income expats don’t usually have access to a PC and the majority struggle to write in English and don’t care about the NOC, they just want to get paid on time and paid what was agreed when they came.
The people on various sites shouting about the kafala system are only interested in the NOC as they believe they can get more money by jumping jobs. Driven by greed mostly, if they were paid that badly in Qatar they would have left already.
Oh, yes, it’s the low-income workers who are being greedy (rolls eyes).
Or, you know, they could jump jobs to an employer that treats them with the most basic of dignity that a human being deserves.
But, hey, you’ve made it clear that you don’t consider them worthy of that so there’s no point in really discussing it here with you.
If you undertood what I wrote I was not saying that about the low income workers, it is usually those people sitting in offices banging away on their PC wantin a NOC so they can jump ship….
I bet most of us know the huge variation of salaries that is offered for the same job, regardless experience or qualification, but solely on nationality. Once NOC is not required anymore, skilled employees will definitely get better offers that suit their skills and qualifications, and hence they will not accept lower offers. The successful companies will have to acquire those employees, or retain their current employees, by offering better salaries with other befits. Correct me if that was wrong !
Anyone who thinks that even if the NOC is abolished then a large number of employees will suddenly change jobs for much higher salaries is dreaming. That was not the case in other GCC countries that changed NOC requirements.
If you take an Indian employee who has been here 10 years getting 8,000 QR a month with the right skills and experience, a new employer might offer 10,000 QR to tempt them, but if he turns round and says westerners get 50,000 QR and that is what I want the company will just go to India and bring in another person who is more than happy to accept the 10,000 QR. In fact he will be delighted and that man will still be stuck in his job.
Many people here are already granted NOCs by their employers, especially if their contracts are finished. We have also seen a number of employers only agree to release a person if he can find his own replacement. New rules reportedly will be tied to employment contracts, as they should be. Why should I pay good money to mobilise someone to Qatar, only to see him/her run out the door at the first opportunity ?
Because that’s how it works in the free world. The difference is that good employers create the conditions where their employees want to stay. In Qatar the mantra is that everyone is replaceable – which with regard to professional staff is suddenly becoming less the case.
Well, you have a point, however, having employees moving freely to look for better benefits will cost the employer more than getting new employees with similar or even higher salary…simply because a skilled employee who has acquired some sort of training, and eventually have a bespoke experience living here is more valuabe as an asset compared to a new employee who will still have to be accustomed to the employer and the country, and may eventually leave for a better option. In short, any staff who have experience with a certain employer here in Qatar is worth more than his salary. A new staff will cost more training and more time to adabt and eventually perform as good as others who already worked for the same company.
lol… what you say is textbook correct.. .however that will never work in qatar i’m afraid..
Ok, how many employees got better offer/ similar salary with better life conditions ( i.e : in GCC or other country ) and are held back by sponsorship ? I bet its a good ( frightening ) number . I think that NOC and exit permit changes will cause the initial movement to improve working conditions in Qatar, only if changes were framed in a fair way and I think it will take years of try and error ( or maybe it’s just a hunch ).
The companies don’t care in Qatar! They don’t realise how much it cost to release someone and get someone new…no retention whatsoever ! both private and government organisations and I know as I work in recruitment..thers is many good employees that leave and no one tries to stop them…most of the western guys on this forum try to apply “western” rules and that does nit work, this is a young still developing country and you can’t expect things to be well organised like back in UK when you had hundreds of years to establish right procedures etc.
I have to agree with this.
Not so MIMH. Many who post here are appalled at what we see in terms of service for many workers, especially those who have little or no voice of their own. Many people would be happy to campaign if it was permitted here
Not totally true, I get paid a good wage so for me it’s not just about the money. It’s about not having the sword of Damacles being waved at you every day by HR-averse employers who want to leech every last drop of blood out of you – and that applies at all levels.
“several PROPOSED revisions are expected to be DISCUSSED”. Hm- I don,t see much changing when it is still all proposals and discussions. For the kafala system not to be abolished must mean that people know SOME (not all ) people treat employees poorly and they fear them running out. I am probably looking at it too simplistically. There are really great things in Qatar-it such a pity that aspects like this lag so far behind.
Lol you think removing noc will mean higher pay…. If I have a retail store that pays employees 2,000 a month.. It means I can poach employees elsewhere who are willing to work for 1,800… And to make sure I keep them motivated I remind them someone else is willing to do a better job for 1,700!
Retail stores will continue to poach till the major five or six large retailrs like al fardan, al manaa, Darwish and Salem.. Who collectively probably own 70% of all retail business decide to settle at a much lower pay for their staff and not poach.. Sure you get your noc… But you might as well frame it coz no one is hiring ..
Correct. That is not what happened in Dubai, in fact salaries have stagnated over the last 6 years if not dropped. Starting to edge up again, but still below 2008 numbers.
Before 2008 they were struggling to find good candidates from the west to come, post 2008 the flood of CVs from Europe especially helped drive down salaries.
The five Labour Cities will be ready by 2022, just when all the workers will have to leave…Al Baraha project was superposed to be finished in 2008 initially! Also the matter of minimum wage is very important and has nothing to do with “free economy” unless you mean “I’m free to pay nothing if there is high demand”
I agree with locals on this forum that NOC’s are mostly for expats that are not really good in their jobs and want more money…what will make salaries raise in Qatar is that there is more jobs in UAE now and people prefer to go there and also that Europe is picking up as well.
Blah Blah blah Bla Blah Blah blah! My Jaw hurts from saying Blah Blah Blah!
I don’t think that this system will ever change because the government is fully under the companies. As per i think the company or any organization has bought the government here. These people are never gonna change the law.
Bullshit Laws and Bullshit Peoples.
This thing of changing that law is taking too long we are paid 700 per month we have families back home they need to eat you also need food and still save some riyals. ….the government should do something about this surely
We are waiting for the changes it’s now a new year
LETS WAIT N SEE BY YEAR END OF 2015 AGAIN HEHEHHE
Year was not said, so it might be in 2020..
2014 already ended!!
Since November 2014 nothing has come from the Qatar authorities about labour law.my question, it is going to an occasionally announcement or or what?
Since from November 2014 nothing has come from the qatar’s about the labour law. Now my question.it is going to like be an occasionally announcement or what.?we there is a judgment before us so they should think about.
Its occasionally announcement or what?since from November 2014 nothing has come from the Qatar’s authorities about the labour law. We should know there is a judgement before us so they should think about it.
They should not think that some of us will forgive them.
The better they think I think it will save them.
“Innocent tears on Qatar”