Under the new law, employees of all nationalities and industries will now be entitled to a minimum monthly wage of $ 275.
Doha, qatar – Qatar’s new minimum wage law went into effect on Saturday for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers, the government’s latest move to support the army of foreign workers in the small Gulf country.
The legislation makes Qatar the first Gulf state to enforce a national minimum wage rate for all employees in all sectors of its gas-rich economy.
The new legislation guarantees all employees a minimum monthly wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals ($ 275), as well as a minimum of 300 riyals for food and 500 riyals for accommodation, unless their employer provides both.
“This wage increase will also improve the lives of many family members in the home countries of workers who depend on remittances every month,” said Max Tunon of the International Labor Organization (ILO ).
More than 400,000 workers – or 20 percent of the private sector – will directly benefit from the new law, the ILO said. Qatar has only 300,000 citizens out of a population of 2.7 million.
According to the Qatari government’s communications office, more than 5,000 companies have already updated their payroll systems to adhere to the new legislation.
Labor inspectors will enforce the legislation and impose penalties on companies that fail to comply with the new rules.
Abuse and exploitation
Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs has implemented a series of labor reforms in recent years.
In August 2020, Qatar dropped a rule requiring employers’ consent to change jobs.
Previously, under Qatar’s ‘kafala’, or sponsorship, system, migrant workers had to obtain permission from their employer before changing jobs – a law that human rights activists say left employees dependent on the goodwill of their bosses, and often led to abuse and exploitation.
“Some obstacles still need to be overcome for more efficient labor mobility, but we have observed a large number of workers moving to new jobs,” said Tunon.
Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers has been in the spotlight since receiving the football organization’s award World Cup 2022 in 2010.
An energy-rich Gulf nation, Qatar has long maintained that it is committed to labor reforms and that “lasting change” takes time.
In 2018, Qatar amended its residency law to allow most migrant workers to leave the country without an exit visa, a measure described as a “big step” by the ILO.
Hassan al-Thawadi, Secretary General of the Organizing Committee for the Qatar World Cup, said it was the organization’s belief that “this World Cup can be a catalyst for change, both in Qatar and in other parts of the world” when it comes to workers’ rights.