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Posted On: 4 May 2021 09:00 pm
Updated On: 4 May 2021 10:38 pm

Employment contract in Qatar: Important points you need to know

ILQ Staff
ILQ Staff
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What are the things you need to know and remember about your employment contract for working in Qatar? Here are the usual questions and answers related to the employment contract, according to MADLSA (Labor Law and Domestic Workers Law) and National Human Rights Committee (NHRC)'s Workers' Rights Booklet.

More important than your job offer letter is your employment contract. It will be the one submitted by your employer to the Ministry of Administrative Development and Social Affairs (MADLSA) or more commonly known as the Labor Ministry.

According to the Labor Law, the Employment Contract is an agreement between an Employer and a Worker, fixed-term or open-ended, whereby the worker undertakes to perform a certain work for and under the management and supervision of the Employer for Wage.

What does the basic employment contract include?

Video credit: International Labour Organization Project Office for the State of Qatar

The contract of employment shall be in writing and authenticated by the MADLSA. The contract is written both in Arabic and your country's language or in English. It shall be issued in three copies - a copy for each party and the third to be deposited with the MADLSA.

Important Note: Read the contract carefully before signing. Make sure the details on your job offer match the employment contract.

The employment contract must specify the provisions governing the working relationship between the two parties and must include the following information:

  • Employer's name and place of work
  • Worker's name, qualifications, nationality, profession, place of residence, and what is necessary to prove his identity
  • Date of conclusion of the contract
  • Nature and type of work and the place of employment
  • Date of commencement of work
  • The duration of the contract if it is a fixed period
  • The agreed salary, benefits (accommodation, transportation, food), and the method and date of payment
  • Probation period

Note: When signing a new contract (for the second or third time), the contract must provide the date on which the first contract had commenced.

Digital authentication of employment contracts

In June 2020, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs launched the Digital Authentication System for a Multi-lingual Employment Contract, which aims to offer an integrated digital alternative for authenticating employment contracts in companies.

READ MORE: Step-by-step guide: digital authentication of employment contracts

Are you allowed to keep an original copy of your contract?

It is important to keep a true copy of the contract. Failure to obtain a copy of the contract is also a violation of labor law. To file a complaint, you should refer to the Labor Relations Department.

How can I check my employment contract?

Aside from obtaining a copy of your employment contract from your employer, you can also check it online at MADLSA's website: http://empcont.adlsa.gov.qa/

The online service is available in Arabic and English. You'll be asked to fill in your QID and mobile number.

What is the duration of the contract?

There are two types of contracts:

  • Fixed-term contract
  • Indefinite contract

What does a 'fixed-term contract' mean?

It means you'll be working for your employer for the agreed duration stated in the contract, which shall not exceed five years, renewable for a period or other similar periods.

After the probation period stated in the contract, neither the worker nor the employer may independently terminate the contract before the specified duration. Otherwise, it shall be deemed unlawful termination, giving the other party the right to compensation for the damages suffered.

What does an 'open or indefinite contract' mean?

It means you'll be working for your employer for an indefinite period of time. Either party (worker or employer) may terminate it without giving reasons at any time after the commitment period of the notice.

What is the duration of the notice in the open contract?

If the employment contract is indefinite (open), either party can terminate it without giving a reason, in which case the terminating party must give the other party written notice as follows:

  • For workers whose wages are paid annually or monthly, notification shall be given before the termination of the contract by a period not less than one month if the period of service is five years or less. If the period of service exceeds five years, the notice period shall be at least two months.
  • In other cases, such as workers who are paid on a daily basis or whose wages are paid as per their work product, the notification shall be given at the following times:
    • If the period of service is less than one year, the notice period shall be at least one week.
    • If the period of service is more than one year and less than five years, the notice period shall be at least two weeks.
    • If the period of service is more than five years, the notice period shall be at least one month.

If the contract is terminated without taking these notice periods into consideration, the terminating party shall be committed to giving compensation equal to the Worker’s Wage for the notice period or the remaining part thereof.

How long is the 'probation period'?

The probation period in the contract refers to the time during which the worker is placed on probation to demonstrate his ability to continue working. The probation period must not exceed six months maximum, from the date the employee started working.

Can my employer terminate my employment contract during the probation period?

Yes. During the probation period, if your employer finds you “unfit to carry out your work duties” as stipulated in your employment contract, your employer can terminate the contract but must notify you at least one month before the termination through ADLSA’s electronic system.

If upon the termination of the employment contract you decide to go back to your country of residence, the employer must cover the expenses of the return plane ticket.

Both you and your employer must uphold the terms and conditions of the employment contract during the notice period.

Is your fixed-term contract automatically renewed if you continue to work after the end of the contract without the employer's objection?

If the contract is fixed-term and the parties have continued to implement it after the expiry of its term without an explicit agreement, the contract shall be deemed to be renewed for an indefinite period of time with the same conditions. And the renewal period shall be considered an extension of the previous period and shall be calculated from the date of entering the employer's service for the first time.

When is it allowed for an employee to terminate the employment contract?

The Worker may terminate the Employment Contract before the expiration of its duration if it is a fixed-term contract, and without notifying the Employer if it is an open-ended contract, along with reserving his full right to the end of service gratuity in any of the following cases:

  • If the employer breaches his obligations under the contract or violates the labor law.
  • If you or a member of your family has committed an attack or an act that is contrary to morality.
  • If the employer committed fraud in relation to the terms of the contract.
  • If there is a serious risk to your safety or health, provided that the employer is aware of the existence of this danger but did not work to remove it.

When changing jobs, what happens if I do not complete the notice period with my current employer?

If you decide to stop working before the end of your notice period, you will have to pay your current employer for every day of the notice period you do not work.

This is calculated as an amount equivalent to your basic wage for the remaining part of the notice period on a pro-rata basis.

For example: If you want to stop working two weeks before the end of your notice period and your basic wage is QAR 1,500 per month, you will have to pay your employer QAR 750 to terminate the contract legally.

Can my employer terminate my employment contract after the probation period?

Yes. After the probation period, if your employer wants to terminate your employment contract he/she must notify you through MADLSA’s electronic system.

  • If you have worked with the employer for two years or less, the notice period is one month.
  • If you have worked with the employer for more than two years, the notice period is two months.

Both you and your employer must uphold the terms and conditions of the employment contract during the notice period.

Can my employer terminate my employment contract without observing the notice period?

If the employer terminates your contract without observing the notice period, he/she must pay you a compensation equivalent to your basic wage for the notice period or the remaining part of the notice period.

For example: If your basic wage is QR 1,500 per month and your employer asks you to stop working two weeks before the end of a one-month notice period, your employer will have to pay you QR 750 to terminate the contract legally.

How about domestic workers in Qatar?

Employment contract (domestic workers)

According to Section 3 of Law no. 15 of 2017, a domestic worker may not be employed other than by a labor contract written and certified by the department in three copies.

One copy shall be handed to each party, and the third copy shall be deposited in the department. The employment contract shall be written in Arabic. A translation thereof in another language may be annexed.

The employment contract shall include provisions relating to the employment relationship between both parties. It shall include in particular the following data:

  1. Name of employer, nationality, and place of residence.
  2. Name of the domestic worker, nationality and place of residence.
  3. Date of the contract's conclusion.
  4. Type and nature of work entrusted to a domestic worker.
  5. The date on which work started and the probationary period.
  6. The contract's duration, conditions of renewal, and end.
  7. Wage agreed upon, and manner and date of its payment.
  8. Any provisions or data specified in this law.

An employer has no right to employ you except after signing an employment contract with you. This employment contract must contain all the details necessitated by law.

You have a right to receive a copy of the signed employment contract. The contract will be in Arabic and English.

Ending your contract (domestic workers)

According to Article 17 of Law no. 15 of 2017, a worker may end the employment contract before the end of its duration while safeguarding his/her full right to an end of service gratuity, pro-rata annual leave dues, as well as a return plane ticket back to his/her country of origin in any of the following cases:

  1. If an employer has not met his/her obligations specified in the provisions of this law or in the labor contract.
  2. If an employer, or a person mandated by him/her, has cheated at the time of concluding a contract with a worker, with respect to the terms of employment.
  3. If an employer or a member of his/her family aggresses a worker, which harms the worker physically or his/her life.
  4. In the event of a serious danger that threatens a worker's safety or health, provided that an employer was cognizant of the danger, and had not sought to remove it.

You have a right to end your contract before the end of its duration if:

  1. The employer does not fulfill any or all the obligations under the contract.
  2. If the employer or a recruitment agent cheats you in relation to the terms of the contract.
  3. If the employer, a family member hurts you physically.
  4. If there is a serious danger threatening your life or health at your workplace.

Can employers of domestic workers terminate the employment contract without notice?

Employers of domestic workers may unilaterally terminate the employment contract without notice and without granting end of service gratuity for the year of dismissal if the worker does not abide by the obligations stipulated in the employment contract or those described in Articles (16) and (11) of Law No. 15 of 2017 on Domestic Workers. They are as follows:

Article 11: A domestic worker shall undertake the following:

  1. Abide by the country’s laws, social customs and traditions, as well as religious and moral values.
  2. Carry out the work agreed upon, and any other tasks which are required to be done on his /her own, in honesty and precision.
  3. Safeguard an employer’s secrets, money and property, and those residing with him/her, his/her visitors, avoid any harm to an employer’s interests and pay particular attention to all of the above.
  4. Follow an employer’s instructions and orders, and those residing with him in an optimum manner, unless they are in violation of the law or the labor contract, or expose his life, money, or the life or money of third parties to danger.
  5. Safeguard the objects which were handed to the worker for his/her work, and handle such objects in accordance with the nature of their use, and their return to the employer upon finishing his/her service.
  6. Avoid any work with others, be it remunerated or not, contrary to the provisions of the law or regulations which are in force in the State.
  7. Treat well an employer, his/her family, and persons residing with him/her, and refrain from harming them especially children, and the elderly.

Article 16: An employer may dismiss a domestic worker without warning, and without granting him/her an end of service bonus for the year in which he/she was dismissed, if a worker has not fulfilled the duties specified in the provisions of this law or the labor contract.

READ MORE:

Sources: NHRC Workers Rights Booklet; Qatar Labor Law; MADLSA Know Your Rights; How to change job in Qatar without NOC