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Law No 15 of 2016, the New HR Law

February 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Ghada M. Darwish Law Firm.

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Law No. 15 of 2016 on Civil Human Resources was issued by HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, recently.

The new law deals with more Qatarisation, leaves available and other working conditions of civilian employees working with Government and public sector entities. The Law will have impact on Qataris as well as non-Qatari employees working with the above institutions, who were earlier governed by the Law on Human Resources Management.

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 are exempted from the provisions of the Law.

The new Law speaks about various allowances of government employees, different types of leaves, employees’ benefits and other work related issues.

The amendments are aimed at the high efficiency of workers equipping them for the Qatar National Vision 2030 for a self-supporting country. Once the executive regulations are issued the law was supposed to be effective from the next day of its official publication on the Gazette.

There will be priority order for employment for different categories. As per the new Law the first priority is for Qatari citizens, then for children born of Qatari mother and non-Qatari father, non-Qatari spouses of Qataris, other GCC citizens, Arab expatriates and the last, for other nationalities.

Expatriate workers will be recruited through employment contracts only. There will be authority to decide the selection. Necessary data about the human resources recruitment are to be submitted before the Ministry of Administrative Development & Labor and Social Affairs. Detailed advertisement of the vacancy is to be published in two leading local dailies and may be online specifying the entity name, positions, qualifications required, pay grades, date of tests if any, the name of center/s of test, subjects, type etc. The time limit of applying should be a minimum of 15 days from the date of announcement of vacancy. An employee can be considered or can be promoted to a vacant position if he acquires a required qualification and experience for that post subsequently. If there is no vacant position in the same level with same conditions, an employee could not be transferred.

According to the new Law the probationary period of government and public sector employees will be three months which could be extended for another similar term and can be terminated if the performance is not satisfactory.

A Government employee will be eligible for a higher pay than the scale stipulated, if his or her expertise exceeds the minimum requirements for the category.

As per the law if a single working day falls between two public holidays that day can be treated as a holiday.

Annual leave days of employees varies from 30-45 days according to their respective grades ranging from 10 to one, and seven days of leave available to them as casual leave. Employee may take leave with necessary prior approval. An emergency leave for seven days annually is also provided. Sick leaves are granted to employees generally for three consecutive days at a time and ten days annually, if supported by proper medical documents and approvals.

For women employees, the maternity leave is for two months to be paid in full and if twins are born, the leave period is three months. The Law considers the situation of mothers of disabled children also and offers a term of five years’ leave in such cases.

There is provision for accommodation or allowance in lieu of boarding. For non-Qatari labourers the allowance is set at QAR 800.

The minimum and maximum level of salary has been fixed as QAR 2300 or 3000 and QAR 65,000 respectively, according to the respective grades for Qataris. For transportation and housing also such levels have been fixed for Qatari employees. There is furniture allowance and transportation allowance for non-Qataris as per their contracts and such employees recruited from abroad will be eligible for annual tickets as well as repatriation tickets on termination, for their wife and children up to three.

For nationals of lowest grades, Grade 12, the minimum monthly remuneration level will be QAR 4,160 which was between 2,200 and 2,600 earlier.

Gratuity is to be paid to an employee at the rate of one month’s last drawn basic salary, who completed one year of service and the maximum gratuity could be for 10 months for expatriates.

Regular allowances should not be denied to an employee, unless his service is ended further to a disciplinary action.

Disabled employees are to be supplied with all the means to work and to be treated and provided with jobs as people of special needs.

There will be performance review of the employees annually. If an employee remains absent for 15 consecutive days without the knowledge or permission of the employer, he or she may be considered as resigned even though the cause is legitimate and if absent for 30 non consecutive days without permission of the employer, his or her service is considered terminated.

Prior to punishment an employee should be given a chance to explain his/ her position by providing with an opportunity of proper interrogation, either oral or written depending on the seriousness of charges. If the charges are minor a warning or salary deduction for three days could be imposed if found guilty. But the official who is ordering the penalty should forward a written justification to the higher authorities in doing so. The employees can go in appeal also against the decision of penalization.

There are many grounds for the ending of service of the government employee such as resignation, sixty years of age, disciplinary action, medical unfitness, contract termination, loss of citizenship of Qataris, by the decision of the minister and further to a final verdict in a crime which challenges his integrity and honesty.

The new legislation is expected to expedite the development of Qatar’s human capital and would help the Government in the development of the country. It may work well for Qatari nationals to have adequate scale of pay and better work environments based on their qualifications.

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