*Government keen to protect interests of employees
Employers and employees who are affected by the current Covid-19 situation can co-operate to mitigate the social and economic damage caused by the pandemic, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) has stressed.
Adding that this will benefit both employers and workers alike, and the long-term sustainability of businesses and business relationships, the ministry said steps taken in this direction could include workers going on unpaid leave or their annual leave; reduced working hours or agreeing to temporarily reduce salaries.
This will help employers and workers engaged in sectors, activities and services suspended due to the precautionary measures taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19, it said.
The official Qatar News Agency, quoting an official statement said the ministry has called upon both parties to follow these instructions:
1. Workers continue to receive their basic salaries and other allowances, such as food and housing, as per their contract in sectors, activities and services whose businesses have not stopped due to the precautionary measures taken to combat the spread of Covid-19.
2. For the sectors, activities and services suspended due to the precautionary measures, an agreement can be reached where workers can go on unpaid leave or annual leave, reduced working hours or temporarily reduced salaries, as follows:
* In cases where employers provide food and/or housing directly, they must continue to provide adequate food and housing free of charge to workers. Employers and workers cannot agree to cancel these benefits.
* In cases where employers offer food and/or housing allowances, they must continue to provide these allowances, and employers and workers cannot agree to reduce these allowances.
* All workers who are isolated or quarantined, and receiving treatment, shall receive their basic salary and allowances regardless of whether they are entitled to sick leave or not.
* Employers may terminate employment contracts, based on the terms
concluded between them and in full compliance with the provisions of the Labour Law, while adhering to the notice period and paying all outstanding benefits, including the return ticket.
* During this period and even in cases where workers’ contracts are terminated, employers are required to provide workers with adequate food and housing free of charge, or equivalent cash allowances, until the workers’ repatriation procedures are secured at the employer’s expense.
The MADLSA has called upon employers and workers to co-ordinate and co-operate with each other during this period, and find appropriate solutions that guarantee the interests of both parties in a way that benefits them in the near and medium term, until the end of these ‘force majeure’ conditions. The ministry said it would take all legal measures against companies that violated these procedures.
The MADLSA has also established a dedicated hotline, 40280660, to receive reports of any workplace or accommodation violations. Workers can also submit any labour-related complaint via a text message through the labour complaints service, which is available 24 hours a day in several languages.
Workers can send a text message to 92727 with the number 5, followed by their personal number, or their visa number and it will be acted upon immediately.