On Saturday a minimum wage came into force in Qatar. In terms of Law No. 17 of 2020 a minimum wage of 1000 riyals ($275) is now effective for all contracts signed from 1 August 2020.
The minimum wage applies to all existing employment contracts. It also applies to domestic staff. It amounts to the equivalent of about $1.30 an hour.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO) more than 400,000 workers will benefit directly from the new law.
Employees will also be receiving a minimum allowance of 300 riyals for food and 500 riyals for housing, unless their employer provides both.
The previous temporary minimum wage was 750 riyals ($206) a month.
The minimum wage follows upon other labour reforms in Qatar. In August 2020, Qatar scrapped a rule requiring employers’ consent to change jobs, a rule required by the so-called ‘kafala’ system.
‘Step in the right direction’
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Luciano Zaccara, assistant professor of Gulf Politics at Qatar University, says: ‘It is a step in the right direction, following the changes in the kafala system.’
Zaccara adds: ‘But there is still room for big improvement, both in terms of legislation passed by government and in terms of the implementation of the new laws by private companies. There is also room for improvement in terms of the amount of the new wage.’
The Labour Ministry in Qatar said the changes ‘will boost investment in the local economy and drive economic growth.’
According to the Qatar Government Communication Office, more than 5,000 companies have already updated their payroll systems to adhere to the new legislation.
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