By Nizar Kochery/Doha
QUESTION: I am a supervisor with a construction company in Doha. The company does not provide any safety gears at the site for the protection of workers. First-aid medicines are also not given. As per Qatar’s laws, is it mandatory to provide care and medicines to workers?
ANSWER: By various provisions on health and safety of workers, Qatar’s Labour Law obligates the employer to take all precautionary measures for the protection of workers during the work from any injury or disease that may result from the work or from any accident, defect or breakdown in the machinery and equipment therein or from fire.
The employer or his representative shall on the commencement of every worker’s engagement inform him of the hazards of the work and may not burden the worker with or deduct from his wage any sum in return for his providing these precautionary means.
It is obligatory on the employer to provide first-aid boxes with medicines specified by the competent medical authority, entrusted to a worker trained in providing first-aid medical services. If the number of the workers exceeds 500, the employer shall designate to them a clinic employing at least a physician and a nurse.
Q: I have just been terminated without any reasons by the company where I have been working for seven years. As part of the final settlement, the company has paid me a month’s salary and taken my passport to cancel my visa. They will not pay me any gratuity and pending overtime. I have copies of site attendance sheets. Can I file a case after leaving Qatar? Is filing a case time-barred after visa cancellation and departure from Qatar? Is it possible to appoint a lawyer for my case?
A: Explore chances for amicable settlement through the Labour Department for unpaid overtime wages, gratuity etc, before you depart Qatar. Article 54 stipulates that on conclusion of service, the employer shall pay end-of-service gratuity to the worker who has completed employment of one year or more and unless otherwise agreed a higher rate, the gratuity shall be at the rate of three-weeks of last drawn basic salary for every year of employment and prorate.
The time limit for claiming Labour rights through court is one year from the termination of employment contract as provided under Article 10. You can engage a lawyer by issuing a specific power of attorney for conducting the case alone.
Breach of contract
Q: We are a contracting company engaged in a sub-contract with a reputed MEP company in Doha. The MEP company is found to be violating the terms of the contract. They have failed to provide materials on time. Because of such breaches, we have sustained additional costs and there is a delay of 22 days in the project’s completion. As per Qatari law, is it possible for us to claim the compensation from the MEP company? Who will be liable for the delay in completion of project?
A: If an employer disrupts the contractor’s progress by breaching the terms of the contract by failing to deliver materials he is bound to provide, the contractor is generally entitled to claim additional costs resulting from disruption. A disruption claim may be advanced in the form of a breach of the legal obligation not to cause additional cost to the contractor.
This might be pursuant to Article 172(1) of the Qatar Civil Code which enshrines good faith as a fundamental obligation of parties to a contract under Qatar law, and Article 172(2) which provides a contract is not restricted to binding a party to the contract to what is recorded in it, rather it deals with his obligations in accordance with the law, custom and equity, according to the nature of the obligation.
The basic principle in the performance of obligations is that the obligor must do so specifically, unless it is impossible for him to do so, and he will be liable to pay compensation unless it is established that the impossibility arose through an external cause in which he played no part. This rule may apply to delay by an employer in the performance of his obligations resulting in the contractor suffering disruption.
The amount of compensation is assessed on the basis of the harm suffered by the contractor, and his loss must be sustained as a natural result of the alleged wrongful act of the employer.
Qatar law imposes a duty upon a contractor to mitigate his loss by exercise of reasonable effort. Disruptive events may not result in financial loss for a contractor if his mitigation measures are entirely successful, and an employer is entitled to argue that even if they were not, they should have been.
Exit permits must for children above 18
Q: My son, who is above 18 years, is to travel out of the country accompanied by his mother. Does he require an exit permit as he is travelling with his mother?
A: Expatriates should get exit permits for their male children above 18 years before they go out of the country, alone or otherwise. Visitors who have stayed more than 30 days have to obtain exit permits as stipulated in the No 4/2009 that regulates entry, exit, residence and sponsorship of expatriates. Women on parent’s/husband’s sponsorship is exempted from exit permit requirement.
♦ Please send your questions by e-mail to: [email protected]
LEGAL SYSTEM IN QATAR
Unless otherwise established, the obligatory commercial records shall be considered as evidence in deciding a dispute. The obligatory commercial records or books shall be taken as evidence in dispute relates to commercial transactions provided the records are maintained as per provisions of the Commercial law.
According to Article 29, the court may on its own accord or on request of one of the litigants, order the other to produce commercial books and documents related to the matter in dispute to decide on the issue before the court.
If the applicant relies on the commercial book and documents of the other party and other refrains from presenting them without acceptable excuse, the judge will rely upon the statement of the applicant when made on oath.
Failure to keep the commercial books referred in commercial law of Qatar, or failure to follow the provisions related to their regulation, shall be punished by a ?ne of not less than QR1,000 and not exceeding QR10,000. According to Article 35, a trader who uses a computer or other modern technological devices to organise his business operations shall be exempted from the provisions of Articles 22, 23, 24, 25 & 26relating to commercial books. The information obtained from the computer or other modern technological devices shall be deemed as commercial books and regulations governing the use of such devices shall be determined by the decision of the relevant ministry.
The commercial names and trademarks, industrial drawings and specimens, patents and other elements of industrial ownership and intellectual property are governed by the laws and decisions related to them.
Article 36 defines commercial premises. The commercial premises are the premises of the trader and the rights associated with these premises, which include a set of tangible and intangible elements.
Article 39 stipulates that the commercial premises may only be sold by an of?cial contract. The contract of sale will specify the price of the goods and tangible supplies and the intangible elements all of them individually.
First of all the price of the goods will be deducted from the price paid, then the price of the tangible supplies, and then the intangible elements, even if agreement is made to the contrary.
The contract of sale of the commercial premises will be declared by recording it in the commercial register. The entry must be made within one month of the date of sale and the entry will have priority over the subsequent entries that are applied to the same commercial premises.
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