Updated : Qatar Emir issues new law regulating public sector jobs

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Qatari citizens are to be given priority in appointments for government and public jobs, a new law issued by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani stipulates.

After citizens, priority is to be given to children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris, non-Qatari spouses of Qatari citizens, nationals of other GCC countries, Arab expatriates and other nationalities, in that order, according to the new legislation.

In all cases, the appointment of non-Qatari employees will be made only through employment contracts, Gulf Times & Qatar Tribune has reported.

Law No 15 for 2016 on Civil Human Resources is applicable to civilian employees at government ministries and departments and other public sector entities.

Categories exempted

Categories exempted from the provisions of the law include judges, assistant judges, members of the Public Prosecution and their assistants, employees of the Emiri Diwan, employees of the diplomatic and consulate corps, university teaching staff, Qatar Petroleum employees, Qatar Investment Authority employees and State Audit Bureau employees.

The Cabinet will issue the executive regulations of the law and it will be applicable from the day following its publication in the official gazette.

According to the law, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs will prepare a guidebook on the description and classification of public jobs and HE the Minister will issue a decision on this.

Every government entity will prepare its job structure in accordance with its actual needs, tasks and specialty, which will be only applicable when approved by the Minister.

Probationary period

A new employee will have to spend a probationary period of three months, which can be extended for a similar period. If the employee proves to be unfit for the job during this period, his/her services will be terminated.

On the other hand, if such an employee performs his/her duties successfully, or without being served a written note to terminate his/her services, s/he will retain the job.

Allowances and compensation

The law specifies the allowances and compensation due to government and public sector employees.

These include a social bonus and allowances for housing, transportation, in addition to special and exceptional bonus, and compensation for overtime. Other allowances include those for telephones, furniture, private vehicles and others.

For non-Qatari employees, the government entity concerned will bear the cost of tickets for their travel.

Pay hike for nationals

According to a report on Doha News, the new legislation will increase the salaries of nationals working in government jobs.

For example, nationals in Grade 12 positions, the lowest tier for Qataris, can now earn a monthly starting salary of QR4,160, instead of QR2,200-QR2,600.

The law includes an appendix on salary for each grade and class of employees, starting from QR2,300-3,000 a month for the lowest grades and up to QR65,000 a month for top level jobs.

Holidays and working hours

The weekly working days, working hours and the public holidays and organisation of work during such days will be determined by a Cabinet resolution.

  • An employee may go on leave only after getting an approval.
  • Regarding leave period and holidays, the law stipulates that if a single day separates two official holidays, it will be considered a holiday as well.
  • The law also specifies 16 types of leave due to government employees – such as maternity leave, regular and periodic leaves, sick leave, unpaid leave and others.

Annual leave

The annual leave for government employees ranges from 30 to 45 days according to the level and classification of the employee.

  • 45 days for the employees who hold positions of the seventh grade or above or the equivalent in salary;
  • 40 days for the employees who hold positions of the eighth to the tenth grade or the equivalent in salary; and
  • 30 days for the employees who hold positions of other grades or the equivalent in salary.

Besides, each employee is entitled to seven days of casual leave a year. Further, the law provides detailed stipulations and regulations for each type of leave.

The employee will be entitled for a periodic leave during the year, which shall be calculated in proportion to the period during which he/she worked in the year.

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If public holidays or sick days have fallen during the periodic leave, the same number of days shall be added to his/her leave.

The employee shall be entitled to an incidental leave, in case of emergency, for a period not exceeding seven days per year.

Sick leave

The employee who is absent from work due to sickness, must report to the closest medical authority for examination and obtaining the necessary sick leave report. The employee shall provide his/her employer with a medical report.

The employee shall be authorised to take a sick leave for a period not exceeding three consecutive working days at a time and up to a maximum of 10 working days in a year. If the leave exceeds this period, the report must be referred to the competent medical authority for approval.

In case of sickness, the employee shall be granted a sick leave for a period not exceeding one fully paid year. If he/she has not recovered, the competent medical authority may grant him/her a sick leave for a period not exceeding another year during which he/she will receive half salary.

If the competent medical authority considers that he/she is incurable and unfit to carry on with his/her job, the employee shall be retired for being medically unfit, if he/she is a Qatari, and his/her service shall be terminated if he/she is a non-Qatari.

If the employee exhausts all his/her sick leaves set forth in the previous article without being cured, he/she may use the balance of his/her periodic leave.

An employee who has suffered a work-related illness or injury shall be granted a sick leave with total salary for a period not exceeding two years, which shall not be deducted from his/her periodic or sick leave entitlements.

If this period elapses without improvement in the medical condition, he/she will be referred to the competent medical authority for diagnosis. If the employee is not a Qatari and is found not recovering, his/her service shall be terminated. If the employee is Qatari, he/she shall be granted a fully paid sick leave for another one year then shall be referred to retirement for being medically unfit.

Special leavew

A female employee shall be granted fully paid accouchement (maternity) leave, for two months and days will not be deducted from other leaves, provided she submits a supporting medical report or a true copy of the birth certificate. Accouchement leave shall be for three months in case of giving birth to twins.

  • In all cases, the female employee shall be entitled to her balance of periodic leaves along with her accouchement leave.
  • The Chairman shall grant the Qatari female employee a leave to look after her disabled children based on report from the competent medical authority for a maximum of five years.

A Muslim employee will be granted for once, throughout his/her service in the state, a 21-day fully paid leave to perform the Hajj. This leave shall not be deducted from the periodic leaves due to the employee.

An employee shall be granted for once, throughout his/her functional service in the state, a fully paid marriage leave for 15 days, provided he/she submits a true copy of the marriage certificate.

Punishment and penalties

Regarding punishment and penalties, the law stipulates that it is not allowed to penalise any employee without due interrogation – in writing – where he can defend himself against the charges.

For minor issues, the investigation can be oral and the penalty will range from a warning to three days’ salary deduction. However, a written justification has to be provided by the official concerned for this.

The law also gives a detailed list of the penalties that can be imposed on employees in each case and the regulations governing these. Besides, it provides the mechanism for penalised employees on how to appeal the decisions against them.

Termination

The services of a government employee can be terminated for various reasons, including being 60 years old, end of a contract, resignation, not being medically fit, penal dismissal, loss of Qatari citizenship, a decision from HE the Prime Minister for the public good and a final verdict against the employee in a crime undermining his integrity or honesty.

An employee is considered to have resigned if he/she stops showing up for work without permission for 15 consecutive days (even if this happens after a legitimate leave). If an employee takes leave for a non-consecutive period exceeding 30 days without permission of the employer, the service will be considered as terminated on the day following the completion of this period.

End-of-service gratuity

A Qatari employee who has spent at least one year working for the government entity shall be entitled to an end-of-service benefit that will be as follows: a basic salary of one month for every year of the first five years, a basic salary of one month and a half for every year of the next five years and a basic salary of two months for what exceeds that.

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The end of service benefit for the non-Qatari employee must be counted on the basic of one month salary for each year out of the years of service, subject to a maximum limit of 10 months.

Meanwhile, the government has stressed its commitment to provide jobs for people with disabilities in accordance with Law No 2 for 2004 in respect of People with Special Needs, while supplying them with all the suitable means to enable them to carry out their work duties.

- Published on 6 November 2016 - Source : Gulf Times, Qatar Tribune

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