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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

56 companies punished for breaking labour laws but when will business owners learn?


by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman

Qatar’s Ministry of Labour penalised 56 companies last week for failing to adhere to the country’s laws. The guilty parties have been banned from doing business for three days and given written warnings from the ministry after they were found to be making workers operate outdoors in the middle of the day.

The Ministry of Labour has called on all companies in different sectors to adhere to work hours during the summer for jobs performed under the sun or in open workplaces. Companies that do not adhere to these rules could face closures of up to one month.

Photo credit iStock

Last week, the Ministry’s Labour Inspection Department conducted more than 100 site visits between June 15 and 18. Alarmingly some 56 companies were found to be breaching a 2007 law which specifies working hours during the summer. Consequently, these companies were prohibited from doing business for three days.

What is Ministerial Decision №16 of 2007?

The article determines the working hours for jobs performed in the sun or open spaces during the period from June 15 to August 31 of each year. It stipulates that work must not exceed five hours during the morning shift which must end by 11:30 am, and the evening shifts must not start before 3:00 pm.

Qatar has vowed to protect its workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate responsibility and the behaviour of business owners are becoming more and more scrutinised in Qatar especially in light of the economic impact of COVID-19 and as the 2022 FIFA World Cup approaches. The government says it is doing its best to safeguard workers’ rights and points to inspections like these and the ensuing penalties issued as a result as proof.

However, some question the impact of the penalties, with many people saying that companies who violate the law must be “named and shamed”. It’s high time that business owners who fail to safeguard their workers’ rights are exposed rather than the government protecting their identity and in turn being criticised for the bad practice of greedy businesses.

Are you or someone you know is being made to work during prohibited hours? You can contact the ministry of labour on 40280660 or email LBR-COMPLAINTS@ADLSA.GOV.QA to report violations related to worker’s payments and work hours.

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