Oil-rich Gulf State of Qatar is rapidly transforming its work force with far reaching reforms that will create a first class labour system in the country with a very motivating new minimum wage, especially as the nation prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2020.
A statement issued by the Government Communication Office (GCO) of the State of Qatar, disclosed this, saying the Qatari government announced a non-discriminatory minimum wage and the removal of the No-objection Certificate (NOC) requirement to change jobs for all employees in all sectors including domestic workers combined with the removal of the exit permit requirement earlier this year.
“The government has set the minimum wage for all private sector workers, including domestic workers at QAR 1,000 per month as a basic wage as well as QAR 500 per month allocated by the employer to for accommodation expenses and QAR 300 per month for food, unless the employer already provides adequate food or accommodation for the employee or domestic worker,” the statement said.
The minimum wage, according to the statement, will be one of the highest in the developing world, far exceeding the equivalent rates in the origin countries of almost all migrant workers in Qatar. “It is the first minimum wage of its kind in the Middle East and will provide extra income to thousands of workers and their overseas dependents at a critically important time for families around the world.
Because of the change, we expect billions of additional pounds to be remitted overseas in local currencies or re- invested in Qatar’s economy each year. “This marks the beginning of a new era for Qatar’s labour market. The re- forms take place against the backdrop of Qatar’s ongoing preparations to host the 2022 World Cup as a milestone moment of Qatar National Vision 2030.
The World Cup aims to create a positive and lasting legacy by supporting Qatar’s efforts to transform the economy, accelerate reforms and provide inspiration to millions of people across our turbulent region,” the statement added. It noted that the new law will come into force six months after its publication in the official gazette, stressing that in the meantime the government is working with local businesses to update their payroll systems and ensure all employment contracts are in line with the new legislation.
The minimum wage was decided following extensive consultations with a specialized national committee and consultations with the international Labour Organization (ILO) foreign governments, NGOs, local businesses and workers’ committees.
A newly formed Minimum Wage Committee will be responsible for reviewing the minimum wage and making any necessary adjustments. The statement said further that the Qatari government has also amended provisions of the Labour Law related to labour mobility.
The amended provisions allow employees in Qatar to move between jobs after serving a short notice period. This removes the No-Objection Certificate requirement for all workers in the private sector.
“The amendment will inject competition into the job market and incentivize employers to respect and preserve the rights of their workforce. For workers, it will sever long term contractual ties to their employer, redress power imbalances and Increase job satisfaction,” it noted. And to ensure compliance the government has put in place measures to sanction some companies, which may try to bypass the changes as they have in the past. For this reason, the government is ramping up its enforcement and compliance measures.
“The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) is coordinating with other government ministries to upgrade the Wage Protection System, strengthen the capacity of inspectors and apply stricter penalties to companies who violate the law,” the statement added.