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Posted On: 24 March 2020 10:46 am
Updated On: 13 April 2020 06:25 am

[UPDATED]Frequently asked Q&A about the labour laws in Qatar during coronavirus outbreak

Leena Chung
Leena Chung
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Labour-law

Many changes and restrictions are being announced since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Qatar. We received a lot of questions from the community members and wanted to list down the most asked questions with answers.

Q1: My company is asking me to go to work. How can I home Quarantine?

Home quarantine is for families coming to Qatar from abroad, who prefer to stay at their home under quarantine conditions instead of the designated facility. Right now, only Qatari citizens can enter Qatar so this applied to them as the home quarantine option was announced on March 19th. Therefore, home quarantine is NOT for every citizen in Qatar right now at this stage.

Q2: Who can do Home Quarantine and what is the guideline?

Families coming from abroad, who prefer their homes and have no symptoms of the disease can do home quarantine once they pass the initial medical examination. They are also required to sign a formal commitment to comply with the procedures approved by the relevant international institutions and the Ministry of Public Health. For those who do not comply with the quarantine rules, they will be taken to prosecution.

Q3: Didn't the government ask all the shops to close? I work in a retail store and they are still operating.

If your retail store workplace is NOT inside of the mall, they are allowed to operate and all the shops must follow the instructions by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Ministry of Commerce and Industry enforced the shops "INSIDE" of the commercial malls/shopping complex to shut down except stores selling food products and medical supplies. Which means the stores below are able to operate:

Stores allowed to operate for customers

1) Supermarket inside of the mall/shopping complex
2) Pharmacies inside of the mall/shopping complex
3) Restaurants, cafes, confectionary shops for takeaway and delivery only inside of the mall/shopping complex
4) Any stand-alone stores (outside of the mall/shopping)

*Shopping malls are such as Mall of Qatar, Villagio, Ezdan Mall, Al Salam Mall, City Center, Qmall, B Square Mall, Lagoona Mall, and others.

Stores NOT allowed to operate for customers

1) Any stores inside of the mall/shopping complex except 1, 2, 3 above
2) Cinema & Theatre
3) Gym
4) Salon
5) Spa & Massage
5) Swimming pools
6) Bars & Clubs
7) Shisha
8) Wedding venues
9) All cafes and cafeterias (as of March 27th)
10) Education services and support centers (as of March 27th)
11) Centers providing arts, theatrical and entertainment services (as of March 27th)
12) Wedding and event services shops (as of March 27th)
13) Shoe and watch repair kiosks (as of March 27th)

This directive does NOT apply to stores in commercial streets such as Souq Waqif, Al Furjan markets, and others.

Q4: I was working at a store in the mall and my employer transferred me to another stand-alone branch. Is this legal?

As other stand-alone branches are allowed to operate and you are still working for the same company, there is no restriction on this. This would be considered as an internal transfer.

Q5: I work at a Salon and my employer is still sending us to the customer's house to offer service. Is this legal?

It is not allowed. The suspended services are to avoid direct contact with customers, especially for salons and spa. Salons cannot provide a service, but can only sell and deliver products.

Q6: Where can I report illegally operated businesses that do not comply with the government's compliances?

You can report to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 3 different channels.

Q7: I am a teacher and my School asks us to come to school to work. Isn't school supposed to be closed?

The school is closed for students. For staff, it is considered as an office. If your school allows staff to work at home, this is the ideal case but it depends on the decision of the employer based on the logistics. Try to find the best way for both parties.

Q8: My company is asking us to use our holiday leaves and I do not want to. What can I do?

Companies cannot force people to go on paid leave. However, under the current circumstances, employers and employees have to work together and compromise. Remember, if a company cannot afford to operate, it'll be forced to shut down or let the staffs go to cut costs. So recommend working together on this to find the best solution for both parties. For more information, you can contact the Ministry of Labour.

Q9: Is it legal to push employees for unpaid leave right now?

Companies cannot force people to take unpaid leave. All the companies will have to pay salaries this month. If you are a business, there will be announcements soon on what easements will be put in place to help businesses survive. If you are an employee, you can volunteer for unpaid leave if you desire. Remember, you have to help each other here. The employer must continue to provide all other benefits like accommodation and food. For more information, you can contact the Ministry of Labour.

Q10: Can I be terminated without notice, is this legal?

Terms of the contract need to be followed with regards to the termination. Only in cases where a business has declared bankruptcy and shut down are there exceptions. When terminated, the employer has to give the notice term and end of service based on the contract between two parties.

Q11: Is the company allowed to deduct salaries?

Yes, this is allowed within reason. For example, if an employee is paid a travel allowance to get to work, and is now working from home, an employer could deduct this allowance. Any deductions have to be communicated in writing.

Q12: Will I be deported if I get a positive result for COVID-19?

No, you will be taken to a care facility and will stay there until you are completely cured. So, if you feel ill and have a symptom, please contact hotline 16000 and get yourself tested.

Please remember, it is a difficult time for everyone so we all need to compromise. It should not be one-sided and find a way to work out together. Some businesses cannot operate at home, and in this case, you should provide safety measures for the employees such as re-arranging the office desk so people do not sit next to each other or face to face.

Q13: Will workers employed in sectors that have followed government instructions to cease services still receive their salary?

Yes, All workers should still receive their basic salary and food and accommodation allowances.

Q14: I am stuck outside of Qatar and cannot go back to my work due to a travel ban. What will happen to my employment?

The employer and worker should discuss working conditions and benefits. The worker is entitled to refuse any adjustment to the contract. In case of termination of employment, this must be carried out in full compliance with the terms of the Labour Law and the contract including the notice period and the payment of all pending entitlement.

Q15: Where can I file a complaint during this time for the employment or accommodation?

Contact Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs at 16008 or email at [email protected]

If you want to read about visa and QID renewals during this outbreak, click here.