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Friday, December 3, 2021

Action taken against company for violating staff housing rules


A company is facing legal prosecution due to failure to comply with the new labour reforms set by the Qatari government.

A cleaning and hospitality company has been referred to authorities for a violation recorded by the Labour Inspection Department at staff accommodation, according to local reports.

The residential facilities in Al Kheesa failed to comply with the requirements and specifications of suitable housing for workers, prompting authorities to take legal measures taken against the company.

The Ministry Of Administrative Development ,Labour and Social Affairs urged companies to adhere to new labour reforms, especially with regards to requirements and specifications related to housing for staff.

Those who fail to comply with the laws could be subjected to penalties such as imprisonment for a period as long as six months, as well as a fine ranging from QR 2,000-QR 100,000, according to Qatari law.

Read also: Public awareness on labour law changes ‘low’: survey

The move against the company is just the latest as Qatari authorities crack down on violations in a bid to implement last year’s historic labour reforms.

Since then, Qatar has drastically enhanced monitoring across the board to detect violations, enacting swifter penalties and further strengthening the capacity of labour inspectors, according to an announcement made by the Government Communications Office (GCO).

As part of the major reform programme, Qatar introduced the region’s first ever non-discriminatory minimum wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals QR (275 USD).

The new legislation stipulates that employers must also pay allowances of at least QR 300 for food and QR 500 for housing, should employers not provide workers with these directly.

Employers who pay their staff less than the minimum wage will face one-year in jail and a QR 10,000 fine.

Last month, the GCO said that since the reforms and new minimum wage were announced in September 2020, more than 5,252 companies with a total of 222,042 workers have already updated their payroll systems.

Read also: Qatar says labour reforms ‘far from complete’ following Amnesty ‘Reality Check’ migrant report

These labour reforms also include the dismantling of the controversial “kafala” or sponsorship system, becoming the first country in the region to do so.

Workers are no longer required to obtain an exit permit to leave the country, or a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to request permission from former employers to change jobs.

In an exclusive interview with Doha News last month, senior International Labour Organisation (ILO) official, Houtan Homayounpour said more work needs to be done to ensure the protection of workers in Qatar, though authorities should be recognised for the work that has gone into making these changes.

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