[LEGAL COLUMN] Leave benefits, termination and working hours
In the third installment of the legal column, advocate Ghada M Darwish addresses queries on leave benefits and working hours.
[Q] I worked for over 2 years in a company. My employer cancelled my visa when I travelled back home, and I don’t have an NOC from him. When can I come back to Qatar? Can I come back on a business or tourist visa?[GD] Since your employer has cancelled your Visa and you don’t have an NOC from him, you can come back only after 2 years on a business visa. According to Article 4 of the Sponsorship Law of Qatar, no work visa shall be granted to any expatriate who has already been granted a visa to work in the state until the expiry of two years from the departure date. If the service contract is for a definite period, and if there is no contract beyond two years, he can come back only after two years. Termination of employment contract during leave is not permitted pursuant to Article 85 of the Qatar Labour Law.
[Q] Our contract states that ‘no work, no pay’ which means we don’t get paid on leaves or holidays. Also, we don’t get paid overtime. Can we contest the statement even if we signed the contract?[GD] According to Article 73 of the Qatar Labour law the maximum hours of work is 48 hours a week and according to Article 74 of Labour Law, a worker is required to work additionally if needed, but to a maximum of ten hours a day. The employer should pay the worker, his basic wage plus 25% thereof for additional hours. According to Article 75, the worker should get a holiday per week, normally Friday, or an alternate day. If his work is necessary on Friday, he should be compensated with a basic wage plus an increase of not less than 150%.
According to Article 38 of the Labour Law, the Service Contract should specify the nature and type of work, the agreed wages for the work etc. If your contract states ‘no work, no pay’ then it may be deemed to contravene the Labour law and therefore the said term may be deemed illegal as it deprives the worker from entitlements under the Law.
[Q] How is paid leave calculated? Is it calendar days or working days?[GD] The paid annual leave is calculated as per calendar days. According to Article 79 of Qatar Labour Law, the worker who has completed one continuous year of service shall be entitled to an annual leave with pay for not less than three (3) weeks for a worker whose service is less than five (5) years and four (4) weeks for one whose service is more than five (5) years. The wage of the worker during the annual or sick leave and his end of service gratuity shall be calculated on the basis of his basic wage on the date of entitlement according to Article 72.
[Q] Upon taking a vacation, my sponsor had asked me to not return to Qatar, and extend my vacation indefinitely. Is it possible to claim my unpaid salary, leave salary and end of service benefits? Can an employeer terminate the contract when the employee is on leave?[GD] According to Article 85 of Labour Law, the employer may not terminate the service contract or notify the worker of the termination thereof during any of his periods of leave provided for in the Labour Law. The employer may not notify the worker of the termination of the contract if the notice period expires during any of such periods of leave. If the service contract is of an indefinite duration, according to Article 49, any of the two parties thereto may terminate it without giving the reasons for the termination. In this case the party intending to terminate the contract shall notify the other party in writing one month before the termination. If the period of service is less than one year the notification period shall be at least one week. If the contract is terminated without observing these periods, the party terminating the contract shall be obligated to compensate the other party for an amount equivalent to the wage for the notice period or the remaining part thereof.
According to Article 50 & Article 54 read with Article 65, 67 & 68 you can claim the unpaid salary, leave salary and end of service benefits like gratuity if you have worked with that employer for one year or more.
Note: If you have a query, please leave a comment. The queries, if not already covered in this or an earlier piece, will be addressed in subsequent installments of the legal column.
Next: Answers to queries we have received on previous columns
Disclaimer: Neither the law firm of Advocate Ghada Darwish nor JustHere is responsible for actions taken on information mentioned here. All efforts have been taken to provide accurate response to the queries.