Qatar has become an example in the region for protecting the rights of workers, thanks to the directives of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, HE the Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Dr Issa Saad al-Jafali al-Nuaimi stated on Thursday.
He was addressing a joint press conference with Ministry of Interior's (MoI) General Directorate of Passports director Brigadier Mohamed Ahmed al-Ateeq to explain Law No 13 of 2018, amending certain provisions of Law No 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates.
“This law is part of a bundle of legislations issued by Qatar to protect the rights of workers,” the minister said.
He clarified that the amended law guarantees the right of the expatriate workers who come under the provisions of the Labour Law to leave the country temporarily or on final exit, without requiring the consent of the employer.
He pointed that an employer can specify 5% his employees who need pre-approval before leaving the country due to their nature of work.
“At the same time, an expatriate worker, who is not allowed to exit the country for any reason, can approach the Expatriate Exit Grievances Committee,” Dr Issa al-Nauimi noted.
The committee shall decide on his grievances within three working days. Procedures will be announced in consultation with the Ministry of Interior, so that employers may submit to a list of employees who need pre-approval before leaving the country due to their nature of work not exceeding 5% total workforce of the company.
He pointed out that the Law No 13 of 2018 amending certain provisions of Law No 21 of 2015 concerning the regulation of entry, exit and residence of expatriates, complements the previous legislations issued to protect workers' rights and provide them a safe work environment.
“These measures started with wage protection system through which all employees get their salaries through the banks. There is a separate department in the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) that monitors wage protection system and the necessary measures are taken in case of any delay in payment of wages of workers.
“The Department of Labour Relations at the MADLSA receives workers’ complaints. The department considers the complaints filed within one week of submitting it and co-ordinates with the employer to reach an amicable solution. In the absence of such a solution, the complaint will be referred to the Labour Disputes Settlement Committee, which was recently established at the MADLSA.
"These committees are headed by judges of the Supreme Judicial Council along with expert members from the Ministry. The complaints are reviewed and settled within a maximum period of three weeks.
“The advantages of these committees are that they decide on cases quickly so that the worker does not remain in a permanent dispute with the employer, giving each person his right, and also helps the worker concerned in obtaining another job or leave the country if so desired”, he added.
Concerning the implementation of Law No 13 of 2018, Brigadier al-Ateeq said that joint committees have been formed between the MoI and MADLSA to find mechanisms to simplify the procedures for implementing the law.
“The current situation requires more awareness campaigns in partnership with the Qatar Chamber to clarify the law. List of the 5% employees whom the employer specifies as required prior approval from the employer will be placed in the system of the MoI,” he added.
Regarding the date of implementation, HE the Minister stressed that the second article of the law stipulates that the law is to be implemented on the day following its publication in the Official Gazette.
He pointed out that during the period leading up to the implementation, the two ministries in co-ordination and co-operation with Qatar Chamber will conduct awareness workshops for employers to clarify all required procedures and mechanisms to implement this amendment.