The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) has issued an advisory on how to maintain workers' health and safety at the workplace.
The advisory, which was posted on Twitter on Saturday, provides answers to a number of questions regarding workers' health and safety.
These are as follows:
* What should a worker do if s/he has fever or other symptoms?
If a worker shows symptoms such as coughing, fever or difficulty in breathing, s/he should stay away from others and immediately contact Covid-19 hotline, 16000. In case of an emergency, the worker should request for an ambulance by calling 999.
* What should a worker do if s/he does not have a health card?
During the current crisis, the possession of a health card and/or Qatar ID (QID) is not necessary in order to be tested and/or receive treatment. These services are provided for free by the government.
* When should a worker go into self-isolation?
A worker should go into self-isolation and call the Covid-19 hotline (16000) is s/he:
1. Shows any symptoms of Covid-19, such as coughing, fever or difficulty in breathing.
2. Has had contact with anyone who has tested positive with Covid-19, even if at the time of contact s/he was not showing any symptoms of the disease.
3. Has returned recently from any country where the disease has spread.
For more information, one can refer to the Ministry of Public Health website: www.moph.gov.qa/
* When will workers be placed in isolation?
A worker can be placed in isolation by government authorities while they await their test results, if it is believed that they may have Covid-19 (if they display any symptoms or have had contact with anyone who is infected with Covid-19).
* What will happen if a worker tests positive for Covid-19?
A worker who tests positive for Covid-19 will be quarantined in centres in the Mukaynis area and provided all necessary medical care, food and lodging for free.
* Who is responsible for arranging the isolation or quarantine of workers in a shared residence?
A specialised medical team working under the supervision of the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management under the Ministry of Public Health is responsible for arranging the treatment of workers in isolation or quarantine. The employer is not responsible for arranging the isolation or quarantine of workers.
* Will workers without a valid QID be able to receive treatment if needed?
All workers will receive all necessary treatment for free, and their status is not relevant.
* Will workers still be paid while they are in isolation, quarantine or are receiving treatment?
All workers in isolation or quarantine, or are receiving treatment, will still be paid their basic salary and receive their allowances irrespective of whether they are entitled to sick leave benefits.
* Can workers' contracts be terminated due to the crisis?
Employers have the right to terminate contracts. However, the termination of employment must be carried out in full compliance with the terms of the Labour Law and the contract, including the notice period and the payment of all pending entitlements, including return ticket to the home country.
* Can workers be requested to use annual leave or take unpaid leave to cover the period they are not able to work or due to the company offering reduced services?
It is important for all to collaborate through this period to minimise the damage for the benefit of both parties, taking into account the survival of the business and employment over the longer term. Therefore, employers and workers may mutually agree that workers take unpaid leave or use their annual leave if the business has been halted and the worker is not assigned any work. However, employers must continue to provide all other benefits, including accommodation and food.
* If workers are outside the country and unable to return, how will this affect their employment status?
The employer and worker should discuss working conditions and benefits. The worker is entitled to refuse any adjustment to the contract. In case of termination of employment, this must be carried out in full compliance with the terms of the Labour Law and the contract, including the notice period and payment of all pending entitlements.
* Will visas and QIDs be extended automatically if they expire during this period of reduced government services?
To extend visas, or to check their status, please follow this link: https:/portal.moi.gov.qa/visitvisaextension
To extend QIDs, or to check their status, please use the Metrash2 app.
Please refer to the Ministry of Interior website for up-to-date information.
* Do these same conditions apply to domestic workers employed in a home?
All of the information above applies equally to domestic workers employed in homes.
* If workers have a complaint or problem about their employment or accommodation during this time, what can they do?
Workers should contact the MADLSA at 16008 or via email at [email protected]