With the Qatar Labour Law amending some of the provisions on the 2004 and 2009 labour laws, expats and workers in Qatar can now pursue complaints and protests against their employers who don’t abide the law with less complications and conditions than before.
With the Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani signing the law, a new committee was established that permits employees to evade the court system; this according to ruling Labour Law No. 13 of 2017.
Office dispute can’t be avoided. ©David Martyn Hunt/Flickr
Workplace Complaints: What You Should Know About the Law
Although employers are dictated by the law to protect and uphold the rights of their employees, disputes and misunderstandings cannot be avoided to occur in the workplace. When that happens, employees should be aware of the existing laws.
If any dispute arises between the employer and some or all of his workers the two parties to the dispute shall try to settle it between themselves and if there is a joint committee in the establishment the dispute shall be referred to it for settlement.
If the two parties fail to settle the dispute the following steps shall be taken:
- The workers shall submit their complaint or claim in writing to the employer with a copy thereof to the Department.
- The employer shall reply in writing to the complaint or claim of the workers within a week from his receiving the same and shall send a copy of the reply to the Department.
- If the reply of the employer does not lead to the settlement of the dispute the Department shall try to settle the dispute through its mediation.
If the mediation of the Department does not lead to the settlement of the dispute within fifteen days from the date of the employer’s reply the Department shall submit the dispute to a conciliation committee for its decision thereon.
The conciliation committee shall be formed of:
- A chairman to be appointed by a decision of the Minister.
- A member to be nominated by the employer.
- A representative member of the workers to be nominated in accordance with the provisions of the second paragraph of Article
The committee may be assisted by consultation with any of the specialists before deciding on the dispute and shall issue its decision on the dispute within a week from the date of its submission thereto.
The decision of the committee shall be binding on the two parties to the dispute if the parties had agreed in writing to referring the dispute to the committee before its meeting to decide on the dispute and if there is no such an agreement in this respect the dispute shall be referred to an arbitration committee within fifteen days and the arbitration shall be mandatory for the two parties.
Exemptions of the Law
Though it is good news for many, it would be bad news to some employees who were not covered by the law.
Employees working in government agencies and those working in Qatar Petroleum and its affiliates are exempted based on the amended Article 3 of the 2004 law.
Domestic workers are not covered by the law. ©Thomas Morris/Flickr
Domestic workers like drivers, gardeners and house helpers are also not covered by this law.
But even then, they should not lose hope because according to the Hukoomi of Qatar:
The government is in the process of establishing a support center and helpline for domestic workers, as outlined in the National Development Strategy 2011-2016.
The purpose of the center will be to protect vulnerable employees such as domestic workers (currently not covered by the Labor Law) from abuses that include violence, long working hours, non-payment of wages and wage deductions, passport confiscation, restrictions on movement and verbal abuse.
The center will provide a place for domestic workers to report incidents of abuse or exploitation. The government is also working hard to promote the legal rights of domestic workers through awareness programmes in conjunction with foreign embassies.
Workers experiencing abuse can seek advice from the National Human Rights Committee on Salwa Road, the Human Rights Department at the MOI, and their country’s embassy.
Filing a Complaint
As in any disputes and disagreements happening within an organization, workers and employers were first advised to resolve their issues within their company.
If this doesn’t work, the Hukoomi of Qatar states the following specifications if and when an employee wants to file a complaint against his employer:
If a workplace dispute cannot be resolved between an employer and employee, the employee may file a complaint within one year of the event at MADLSA. The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) is also available to help deal with human rights violations.
File your complaint at the office of MADSLA ©Juanedc.com/Flickr
The complainant has to file the case at the ministry’s Labor Department which will then forward the complaints to The Labor Dispute Resolution Committee to address the issue and reach a decision in resolving the case.
If the committee finds that the employee has been illegally dismissed from work, they can return to their job and receive all payments due to them.
Both the employers and employees have to know that the decision made by the committee is binding, and that it cannot be violated.