Qatar’s government has imposed strict measures as part of the newly- announced ‘historic’ labour laws.
Employers who pay their staff less than the minimum wage face one-year in jail and a QR 10,000 fine, Fahad Al Dosari, Director of the Labor Inspection Department at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said on Sunday.
The minimum wage in Qatar is now set at QR 1,000 as a basic salary, in addition to a housing allowance of QR 500 and food allowance of QR 300 bringing the total to QR 1,800, If the employer does not provide housing and food. If the companies do provide accommodation and meals to their workers then salaries are set to a minimum of QR 1,000.
Previously the penalty for violating wage regulations was a month-long imprisonment and a fine of QR 6,000.
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Speaking to Qatar TV, Al Dosari explained that the new law — which also applies to domestic workers — aims to attract skilled workers, raise the economic level of Qatar, and enhance the productivity of establishments.
Violators will face imprisonment for a period of six months and a fine of no less than QR2,000 and no more than QR100,000. In cases of repeat violation, penalties will be increased.
Companies have six months from now to amend their employee contracts in order to reflect the new labour laws announced last week.
In cases of disputes, they will be taken to the Labor Dispute Resolution Committees at the Ministry chaired by a judge.
A ‘first of its kind’ move
The ‘non-discriminatory’ minimum wage is the first of its kind in the Middle East, and was set following consultations with various governmental and on-governmental organisations according to a statement by the ministry of labour.
The move, which is hoped will start a new era for the Qatari labour market, was praised by many international organisations, including the International Labour Organisation [ILLO].
“By introducing these significant changes, Qatar has delivered on a commitment. One that will give workers more freedom and protection, and employers more choice,” said Guy Ryder, the ILO Director-General, in response to the announcement of the labor law’s changes in August.
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