Changes to Qatari Labour Law

In 2020, Qatari labour law was amended granting better rights to employees[1].

In addition, a national minimum wage was introduced, taking effect in March 2021[2], and perhaps even more significantly, employees can now transfer from one employer to another in Qatar without the need to obtain his or her current employer’s consent[3].

The revised Qatari labour law has amended the termination of employment requirements, such that employees serving their probation must now be given no less than one month’s notice if the employee plans to transfer to another employer in Qatar, and a minimum of two months notice, if the employee intends to leave the country[4].

Likewise, different notice periods now apply to employees who are in their first two years of employment, and a longer notice period for employees who have been in employment for more than two years[5].

Readers may also like to note the changes to redundancy requirements under the new legal regime, which contains an important reporting requirement to the relevant Ministerial department.

One other crucial change effected by the new labour law, is the abolition of the requirement for a foreign worker to apply for an exit permit before leaving Qatar to take up employment elsewhere. I am reminded of my own time in Qatar, when notwithstanding my seniority, and the key role my employer played in the Qatari economy, even a short trip to Dubai for a couple of days, obligated me to go through the distress of applying for and awaiting the grant of an exit permit!

For further information and specific legal advice on the subject of the new Qatari labour law, please contact the author of this post.

This post is for information purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

[1] Qatar’s Law No. 18 of 2020, effective as of 9 September 2020, amended Law No. 14 of 2004 (the Labour Law).

[2] As a result of the new law passed on 8 September 2020. The new minimum wage requirements concern all private sector employees in Qatar.

[3] In short, the ‘no objection certificate’ is no longer mandatory in Qatar; compare this with the same issue as it has been recently handled in Oman.

[4] Under the previous Qatari labour law, an employer was required to give only three days’ notice of termination. Note also that under the new law, failure to adhere to the new notice provisions can have financial and other consequences for the employer and his employee.   

[5] The new requirement is one month’s notice for the employee who is in their first two years’ employment, and two months for employees who have completed more than two years’ service. Note the penalties which now apply to employers or employees who fail to comply with these new notice periods. In fact the new labour law generally imposes harsher penalties for breach of the provisions of the labour law.

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