HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued yesterday a law making it mandatory for private companies to pay all their workers their wages through electronic transfer system.
Wage Protection System
The Wage Protection System (WPS), demands that private companies pay their salaries, allowances and perks, to the employees through electronic transfer within the specified period. The mode of payment can be through banks and other financial institutions such as exchange houses, in a way that allows the worker to withdraw it.
Remuneration of the workers appointed on the basis of an annual or monthly salary shall be paid, at least, once a month, while that of all the other workers shall be paid, at least, once every two weeks.
This is to ensure that the employees are paid on time and as per the salary figures shown in work contracts.
False hopes for expats
Last evening, Qatar News Agency had reported that the Emir has issued Law No. (1) of the year 2015, amending some provisions of the Labour Act No. (14 ).
Some popular websites quoted this as ‘Emir approves changes in labour law’, without revealing further details.
This led to lot of discussions on social media, further raising the hopes that the amendments involved changes to the Kafala sponsorship system and exit permit system.
The new amendments
The new law incorporates amendments only of two main articles of the previous law (Articles 66 and 145).
- Article 66 deals with wage payments to company workers. The amended portion says the wage must be transferred into a worker’s account with one of the financial institutions in the country “within a specified period”.
- Article 145 of the previous law which stipulates punishments for not complying with its provisions has almost been retained. It says company owners not transferring workers’ wages electronically in time will be liable to face a jail term not exceeding a month or a fine of QR 2,000 to QR 6,000 or both.
What next ?
- The law is to be published in the official gazette and only after which it is to be implemented. The implementation is expected soon.
- Companies will be given a grace period of six months to apply the new system.
- Minister for Labour and Social Affairs will have the authority to extend this grace period to another six months or more.
- Minister for Labor and Social Affairs has been asked to frame and enforce executive regulations (bye-laws) which explain details about which financial institutions shall be made part of the WPS and to what extent, commission to be paid for their services and deadline by which companies must pay the wages and allowances due to their workers.
The WPS, once in force, is expected to end workers’ woes regarding delayed or non-payment of their wages and perks.