Through Decree No. (18) of 2020, the legislator amended some provisions, in addition to incorporating new provisions, to the Labour Law No. (14) of 2004 (the “Labour Law”). The most important amendments relate to the termination of the Employment Contract during the probationary period, termination of the Employment Contract after the end of the probationary period or in the case of such period is not provided in the Contract, and reducing the duration of the non-competition provision. The most prominent new provisions added by the legislator are the Employer’s requirement to provide the Workers with housing and the possibility of terminating the Employment Contract by the Employer for reasons of an economic or business structural nature.
Significant amendments have been made to the probationary period duration, which now permits the Worker to also terminate the Employment Contract during the probation period. Previously the law afforded this right solely to the Employer. The new Amended Article (39) of the Labour Law reads:
The Worker may terminate the Employment Contract during the probation period, provided that the following are observed:
1. In the event of the Worker’s desire to work for another Employer, he must notify his current Employer in writing of such intention at least one month prior to the termination date of the contract. Further, the new Employer is obligated to compensate the current employer for the value of the ticket and recruitment fees, if any, provided that the compensation does not exceed two month’s basic wage of the Worker.
2. In the event that the Worker desires to terminate the contract and leave the country, he must notify the Employer in writing of such intention in accordance with the agreed-upon notification period, provided that such period does not exceed two months.
With regard to the Employer’s termination of the Employment Contract during the probationary period, the new Article (39) increases the duration of the notice period to one month. Whereas the previous Article stipulated that the notification period was only three days. Further, the new Article also provides that in case either party terminates the Employment Contract without taking into account the notice period or part of it, that party shall be required to pay the Worker’s basic wage for the duration of the notice or the remaining of the period as compensation.
Furthermore, the new Article (39) stipulates that in case an expatriate Worker leaves Qatar without adhering to the notice period, that Worker shall not be granted a work permit for one year commencing from the date of departure.
Another amendment made to the Labour Law relates to the duration of the non-compete provision. According to the amended Article (43), the duration of this provision has been reduced to a maximum of one year instead of the two years previously stipulated. The legislator also stipulated that the non-compete clause shall be void if the termination by the Worker was due to one of the reasons listed under Article (51) of the law or if the Employee was terminated by the Employer in violation of the provisions of Article (61). The amended Article does not affect the provision that allows the Employer the right to provide for a non-compete term, which is permitted in case the nature of the work allows the Worker to know the Employer’s clients or the business secrets of the establishment.
The amended Article (49) of the Labour Law stipulates that each of the parties to the Employment Contract following completion of the probation period, or in case the Employment Contract did not provide such period, can terminate the contract without providing reasons, provided that the party wishing to terminate notifies the other party in writing of such intention/decision in accordance with the following notice periods:
* One month notice during the first and second year of work;
* Two months’ notice after the second year of work.
If the Employment Contract is terminated without observing these periods, the party terminating the contract shall be obliged to compensate the other party for an amount equivalent to the full remuneration for the notice period or the remaining part thereof.
The amended Article (49) also stipulates that in any case an expatriate worker leaves the country without complying with the provisions of this article, the Worker shall not be granted a work permit for one year from the date of departure.
Provision of housing
Another amendment to the Labour Law is the addition of Article (106) bis, which requires Employers to provide housing for their Workers which abides by the conditions and specifications set out by a decision of the Minister. Further, Article (145) bis 1, provides that anyone who violates this requirement may be subject to a prison sentences for a period of not more than six months, and a fine of not less than 2,000 riyals and not more than 100,000 riyals.
Termination for economic and structuring reasons
The legislator added Article (52) bis, which provides for certain conditions to be met by the Employer before terminating Workers due to economic or business structural reasons. Such conditions include notifying the Ministry at least 15 days prior the date of termination; providing a written statement of the reasons for the termination; stating the number of workers likely to be affected by termination, their categories, the period during which the termination is intended to be carried out; and other relevant information requested by the Ministry.
For more information about the Decision, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Salman Al-Ansari Roqayya Mollazehi
About Al-Ansari & Associates
Al-Ansari & Associates is a leading law firm based in Doha, the State of Qatar. Being the fastest growing firm in the State of Qatar, we are proud to have supported both local and international clients with multi jurisdictional qualified lawyers. The firm’s practice is focused on core areas such as corporate and commercial, Banking and Finance, regulatory and compliance, Labour and Employment, TMT, Intellectual Property and Copyright, Real Estate and Contraction, Energy and Natural Resources, Transport and Infrastructure and Dispute Resolution. Al-Ansari & Associates provides its clients legal expertise with international standards.