It is against the law to lay off employees who are out of the country on vacation, Qatar’s labor ministry has said.
In separate posts on Facebook this week, the ministry reminded managers about two clauses regarding leave in Qatar’s labor law.
Article 85 states that an employer may not terminate the service contract or notify a worker of termination while he is on leave.
However, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs added that Article 84 of the labor law prohibits employees from working for somebody else while on leave.
“If it has been proved to the employer that the worker has contravened this provision, the employer may deprive him from his wage for the period of the leave and recover what he has already paid of that wage,” the law states.
If an employee is fired while on leave, he or she does have some recourse.
For example, the labor ministry has set up several electronic kiosks across its branches to accept grievances in 11 languages.
But pursuing a court case against an employer could be costly and timely. This can be discouraging particularly for those with little money and no access to transportation, according to rights groups.
Last year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that several workers they spoke to during their visit to Qatar were not aware of the kiosks.
The delegation said it also met expats who faced retaliation after reporting issues. And some said their court hearings were continuously delayed because their employer refused to attend the proceedings.