By Nizar Kochery/Doha
Sick leave entitlement
QUESTION: An employee from our company, who has been on sick leave for three weeks, has submitted his resignation under medical reasons enclosing certificate from an authorised clinic. Is it mandatory to pay the employee entitlements on resigning from the employment due to medical issues? What are the rights of the employer for termination during sick leave?
ANSWER: If a worker resigns on reasons of sickness and with the approval of the competent physician before the end of the six weeks to which he is entitled as a sick leave with pay, the employer shall pay to the worker the balance of his entitlement. Article 82 provides the worker sick leave with pay on completion of three months in service.
The worker is entitled for full wage for the first two weeks and half of his wage for other four weeks. The extension of the sick leave thereafter shall be without pay until the worker resumes his work or resigns or his service is terminated for health reasons.
The service of the worker may be terminated at the end of the 12th week of the sick leave if it has been proved by a report issued by the competent physician that the worker is unable to resume his work at that time.
Transfer of sponsorship
Q: I was hired by a company in June 2012 when I was in the UAE but was posted at the company’s Qatar branch. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that the company has no intention to meet its employees’ financial needs fully. Because of this, some employees, including me, are trying to seek a better opportunity. I already have some good offers from other companies. Unfortunately, my current employer says it never gives any no-objection certificates (NOCs) to the employees for sponsorship transfer. But we have found out that in the past, some employees had managed to get NOCs from the company. Are there any provisions that could help us to obtain NOC from the company?
A: Qatar employment or sponsorship laws do not categorise expatriate employees into local and/or overseas recruits. Transfer of Sponsorship and grant of NOC are still at the discretion of the current employer and subject to approval of the immigration authorities.
When there is no NOC there will be a ban of two years for re-entry. According to Article 4 of Entry & Exit Laws, except with the written consent of the previous sponsor grant of entry visa for work prior completion of two years is prohibited.
Refusal to testify
Q: A case has been filed against my sponsor by a person and I am a witness. The court has issued me summons to appear before it, but I am afraid of the consequences. What if the witness fails to appear before the court?
A: If the witness is sick or unable to appear before the court for any other excuse, the court may adjourn the hearing. If the court finds out the untruthfulness of the excuse for the non-appearance, it may punish the witness according to the sentence provided by the Article (179) of the Penal Code.
As per Article 179, whoever, being a witness before a judicial or investigative authority, refuses to appear, take the oath or otherwise withholds testimony before the said authority, unless there is a valid excuse for this refusal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding three thousand Qatari riyals or both.
Provisions of tax agreements
Q: We are a “with-limited-liability-company” (WLL) company that is engaged in various business activities in the Middle East. What is the provision under tax law with regard to the keeping of records of accounts? As we engage in the activities which are outside Qatar, what shall be our tax obligation under the current tax laws in Qatar?
A: Taxpayers carrying on an activity in the state shall keep accounting books, registers and documents in accordance with the laws of the state, international accounting standards and the provisions of the executive regulations of this law. As per Article 19, taxpayers carrying on an activity in the state shall keep all accounting books, registers and documents relating to the activity in the place where the activity is carried on for 10 years following that to which the books, registers and documents are related.
The tax rate shall be 10% of the taxable income of the taxpayer during the taxable year.
Subject to the provisions of tax agreements, payments made to non-residents with respect to activities not connected with a permanent establishment in the state shall be subject to a final withholding tax of (i) 5% of the gross amount of royalties and technical fees; also (ii) 7% of the gross amount of interest, commissions, brokerage fees, director’s fees, attendance fees and any other payments for services carried out wholly or partly in the state.
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