New Qatar minimum wage law beneficial to OFWs

With a new ‘non-discriminatory minimum wage’, the government of Qatar becomes the first Arab state to introduce a significant labor policy reform covering all its migrant workers, the labor department said on Sunday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government of Qatar adopted early this month Law No. 17 series of 2020, setting the minimum wage for all workers of all nationalities in the private sector at 1,000 Qatari Riyal (QR) equivalent to $274 or Php13,325.00, the basic wage.

Earlier, Qatar has abolished the kafala, an employment system that requires all migrant workers to secure the permission of employers before they can seek another employment.

In addition to the minimum basic wage, employers are directed to ensure that workers are provided adequate food and accommodation, or allocation of additional 500 QR for accommodation and 200 QR for food, bringing the minimum total gross salary to 1,800 QR equivalent to $ 494 or Php 24,000.00.

Citing a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Qatar, the Labor Chief said the law establishes a Minimum Wage Committee that will review the impact and application of the minimum wage, in consultation with different bodies, experts, workers, and employers.

The report, according to Bello, said that the government of Qatar, through the Ministry of Administrative Development Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA), will be working with employers to update all employment contracts where workers are earning less than the amount established by the new law.

Bello stressed that overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are already enjoying higher salaries and benefits need not worry as MADLSA gave an assurance that they will not be affected by the new law.

In addition, he said, there are amendments to the Labor Law prescribing stricter penalties for employers who fail to pay their workers’ wages and provide adequate accommodations, prescribed by MADLSA.

The new minimum wage law will come into force after six months from its publication in Qatar’s Official Gazette on September 9, 2020.

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