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Emir Approves New Law To Safeguard Domestic Workers

Photo: Addis Fortune

In order to protect the rights of domestic workers and improve their working conditions in Qatar, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani issued Law No 15 of 2017 on domestic workers.

The new law ensures domestic workers end-of-service benefits which shall be a minimum of three weeks wages for each year of service. The law targets natural persons doing domestic jobs under the administration and supervision of the employer, who is also a natural person. Such jobs include driver, nanny, cook, gardener and similar jobs within the same category that are performed by the worker in the service of his employer and those living with him.

The law includes 24 articles and takes into consideration the Labour Law issued by Law No 14 of 2004 and its amendments, and Law No 21 of 2015 regulating the entry and exit of expatriates and their residence, modified by Law No 1 of 2017, in addition to the civil and commercial procedure law issued by Law No 13 of 1990 and its amendments.

The law specifies that the regulations for recruiting domestic workers, and their medical check-ups and residency permit are governed by the stipulations of Law No 21 of 2015.

The new law does not allow to hire domestic workers without a written agreement which is approved by the department concerned at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA). The contract shall be written in Arabic and it can be accompanied with a translation in another language. However, the Arabic text is considered the main text in the event of litigation.

Along with the basic information, the contract shall include the nature and type of the targeted work, the agreed wages and the way and date of payment, and the duration of the contract and the condition for its renewal and termination, in addition to any other data and stipulations included in the law.

The recruitment process shall be done through an authorised recruitment agency in accordance with the stipulations of the law. However, the employer or his delegate can recruit workers from abroad on his own after taking the permission of the MADLSA department concerned.

While the minimum age for recruiting workers is 18, the maximum should be 60. The worker shall be subject to a paid probation period, the duration of which and regulation is determined by a decision of the Minister.

The employer is entitled to provide worker with the adequate accommodation, clothing and medical care free of charge, to treat him with good manners, preserving his dignity and maintaining his physical safety, and ensuring no harm happens to him, whether physical or psychological.

Unless there is a mutual agreement, the worker cannot be engaged in work during his sick leave or during his weekly off or daily rest hours. The worker should be paid the monthly salary in Qatari currency at the end of each calendar month, not later than the third day of the following month.

The employer shall not be absolved of such obligation unless there is proof that salary was deposited in the bank account of the worker or handed to him in cash with receipt signed by him indicating that he received his full salary. Besides, the employer shall not deduct from the worker’s salary any fees, charges or expenses towards the recruitment.

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