Qatar Labour Law
Sponsorship, Work Permits and Other Practical Information
Sponsorship | Labour Unions
Currently almost all employees in Qatar require sponsorship. Employees are not allowed to work for anyone other than their sponsor even on a part-time basis. In practice this rule is often broken, although doing so is sufficient grounds for cancelling a work permit.
Employees cannot normally transfer sponsorship unless they have worked for their employer for two years. They will also need a clearance letter from their sponsor in order to do so. A sponsor can ban a departing employee from returning to the country for two years.
Sponsors do not have the right to keep the passports of their employees except to perform official business, unless it has been agreed in writing between both employee and employer.
Employees who are sponsored can in turn sponsor their own families. Fathers can sponsor their sons as long as they are under the age of 25 and are students, and can sponsor their daughters until they marry.
Workers can not leave the country without an exit permit, although minors and wives may do so.
After a residence permit is cancelled, an employee can not return to the country for two years, even as a tourist.
Women seeking work in Qatar who are on a family sponsorship do not need a separate work permit. However, they must register as a working woman at the Labour Department. To do so they must have to have the permission of their sponsor (in the form of a signed letter). While women are entitled to the same pay, training and promotion prospects, they are not allowed to undertake hazardous work. After a year's employment women are entitled to 50 days paid maternity leave. A women may not be dismissed because of marriage.
According to the sponsorship law issued in 2009 women can sponsor both husbands and children.
For more information see: Working Women in Qatar
Employment contracts must be drawn up in Arabic. While a contract may be translated into another language, where there is a dispute over translation the Arabic version will always prevail.
One copy of the contract must be given to the employee and one to the employer, while a further copy is kept at the ministry of Labour.
During the probation period of a job which can last up to six months an employee can fired with three days notice. Otherwise either the employer or the employee can terminate a contract without giving reason; the period of time required varies depending on the length of service and how the employee is paid, but can be anything from a week to two months.
Disputes between companies and workers can be referred to the labour department. If the labour department cannot resolve the problem it will be referred first to a reconciliation committee and the to an arbitration committee. In the event of being dismissed an employee may be able to appeal to the lab our department, but must do so within seven days of receiving his or her dismissal.
If you have a complaint you should contact The Labour Department:
Tel: +974 4406554
For a serious issue, contact The National Human Rights Committee:
48 hours is the maximum amount of time a employee may be required to work under Qatar labour law without the payment of overtime. Normal working hours consist of eight hours a day, six days a week. However, during Ramadan these hours should be reduced to 6 hours a day with a maximum of 36 hours a week. Working hours should include at least an hour for rest, eating and prayer. Even with overtime, employees should not work more than ten hours a day.
Until recently employees were not allowed to take on additional work outside their primary job. This has now changed, and workers can now take on additional part time work if they have the permission of the sponsor.
Employees are entitled to a minimum of two weeks leave a year. Expatriate employees must be provided with an air ticket at the end of their contract. Friday is a designated holiday, and a worker should never be required to work more two consecutive Fridays. Workers are also entitled to leave with full pay on Eid Il Fitri, Eid AlAdha, Independence day and three other non-specified days. Muslims are allowed two weeks of unpaid leave to perform the pilgrimage.
Workers are entitled to two weeks sick leave on full pay and half pay for another four weeks, after which they are not entitled to any further pay. After 12 weeks of sick leave the employee can be dismissed.
Labour unions are only allowed for Qatari employers.
Further Information on Qatari law:
The full text of the Qatar 2004 Labour Law on the US Qatar Embassy website.