Qatar mulls moves to ensure labourers’ financial security

October 5, 2010
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Qatar is mulling a move to secure financial protection for labourers by requiring private companies to provide the labour ministry with monthly details of the salaries paid to their workers.

The move will allow the authorities to make sure that workers are paid on time and that there are no undue deductions or delays. The new measure will also allow the prompt identification of workers who have not been paid.

The ministry said that it had a comprehensive database about all commercial establishments in the country covered by the labour law and that companies unable to transfer their labourers’ salaries to banks will have to forward details of cash salary payments on discs.

The database included details about the workforce of each company and by tallying the monthly salary payment details, the ministry will immediately know if all the workers of a company have been paid or not.

“We will be able to analyse salary payment details in no time since everything will be computerised,” a senior ministry official, Qatari daily The Peninsula reported on Tuesday.

Under an awareness campaign to encourage private sector companies to pay their workers through banks to facilitate monitoring, the ministry held a meeting with their senior representatives.

“If the salaries are being paid in cash, the details need to be forwarded to the ministry on CDs,” ministry officials said at the meeting.

However, critics of the ministry’s plans said they had doubts about the willingness of banks to open individual or “package” accounts for lowly-paid workers.

“Nearly all the banks have minimum salary requirements for opening accounts and these limits run into a few thousands of riyals, while a lowly-paid worker’s monthly wage should not be more than QR800 on average. So we don’t think banks would welcome such a move,” a critic said, quoted by the daily. “And even if banks agree to open mass accounts for these workers, cash withdrawals using ATMs could be a problem since at the start of every month ATMs would have long queues of workers in front of them.”

According to the critic, the best solution is to allow companies to link their human resource departments with the e-government system so they can easily feed salary payment details into it each month for any concerned government agency to access them whenever they wanted.

Private companies already have e-cards through which they apply for issuance and renewal of work visas and exit permits for their employees.

“Linking their human resource departments and feeding salary payment details every month will just be an additional step for a private company,” he said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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