The Wage Protection System aims to ensure that migrant labourers receive their pay on time
Qatar today officially launches one of its most “significant” labour reforms to guarantee migrant workers’ wages.
The Wage Protection System (WPS) aims to ensure that migrant labourers, many working on 2022 World Cup-related projects, receive their pay on time.
Under the new system, workers will be paid either twice a month or monthly, and the wages electronically transferred direct to their bank accounts.
Failure to pay salaries on time, especially for blue-collar workers, has been a complaint voiced by some rights groups against companies in the state.
Today, a six-month grace period for businesses to ready for the electronic payment system expires.
From that date, companies which fail to pay staff on time could face fines of up to QR6,000, be banned from recruiting new staff and bosses potentially sent to jail.
Inspection teams will monitor the new system and identify any firms not complying with the regulations.
The WPS is being overseen by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, which has previously pointed to its introduction as proof of Qatar’s commitment to labour reform.
In May, the ministry cited the WPS as an example of the “significant changes” being introduced in Qatar’s labour practices.
Amnesty International welcomed the introduction of the WPS.
“It’s a positive step in principle,” said Amnesty’s Gulf migrant rights researcher, Mustafa Qadri.
Amnesty called on Doha to ensure the WPS is rigorously enforced.
“The government now has a benchmark it can apply to business. The government should effectively enforce this law,” added Qadri.
“We shouldn’t see August 18 as a deadline but a new beginning for Qatar.”
Doha has said it backs “effective and sustainable change” and says the WPS, like Qatar’s promise of accommodation improvements for 250,000 workers, demonstrates a commitment to this end.
Qadri said the changes being introduced today should open the door to further reforms. He referred specifically to the ending of the kafala system.
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