NEW LAW: "Employer Should Not Take Any Action that May Affect the Dignity & Self-Respect of the Employee"

Domestic workers in Qatar will soon be covered by a law providing them with better working conditions.
The Advisory Council approved the 26-article law at its weekly session yesterday. The draft now needs HH the Emir’s approval.

According to the draft law, domestic helps shall be entitled to a paid day off a week in addition to time for rest, food and sleep as stipulated in Article 13. The employer should pay the monthly salary by the third day of every month either in cash or deposit the amount in a bank account in the employee’s name.

The workers shall be entitled to paid annual leave for three weeks. They shall also be entitled to air ticket to their home country – to and fro – every two years or paid the equivalent amount in cash, Article 14 says.

Among the conditions binding on the employer are that he/she shall pay gratuity to the employee who completed a minimum of one calendar year of service, on the basis of two weeks of salary for every year of service.

According to Article 8, the employer should not take any action that may affect the dignity and self-respect of the employee.

The council’s report on the draft law hailed Article 9 which stipulated that the expenses for recruitment, including visa fees and any other official charges, shall be borne by the employer and should not be deducted from the employee’s wages.

“This article is meant to combat possible human trafficking and other practices of exploitation committed in this context,” the report said.

Article 21 stipulates imprisonment and fines of up to QR10,000 for whoever is found to be in violation of the law. Article 16 gives the employer the right to terminate the contract of the employee if the latter fails to discharge duties or is found to be in the habit of drinking liquor or taking drugs or if he physically assaults the employer.

Also yesterday, the Advisory Council failed to pass the new sponsorship law as most of the members rejected Article 16 which allows expatriates who have residence permit (RP), to get the same for their parents, saying that the current influx of expatriates has triggered a pressure on services in the state.
The Advisory Council’s speaker, HE Mohamed bin Mubarak al-Khulaifi, criticized the article saying that allowing those with RP to get it for their parents would “adversely affect services and put further pressure on the whole infrastructure”.

He said: “We witness an unprecedented population density. I think RP should only be confined to children and spouses. All those who come on work visa are always welcome, but some residents want to bring all their family members to stay here.”

Another member, Abdullah Yousuf al-Sulaiti, called for reconsidering Article 16 saying that the “population density in Qatar has become a serious concern for all the citizens.”

Mubarak al-Ali, another member, criticized Article 4 of the sponsorship draft law, which stipulates that expatriates leaving the country should not be allowed to return before the lapse of two years of his departure, saying that the period should be increased to five years.

Qatarsucks.com comments: This is good news for the majority victim population of Qatar. However, 10,000 QR isn't going to prevent such commonplace treatment. The Qataris will do what they will and nobody can stop them.