Private companies will soon be required to provide details of the salaries paid to their workers to the Ministry of Labour every month.
The ministry says it is encouraging companies to transfer labourers’ salaries to banks, and employers who cannot do so for some reason would need to forward details of cash salary payments on CDs (compact discs).
According to the ministry, it already has a comprehensive database about all commercial establishments in the country covered by the labour law.
The idea behind asking companies to provide details about salary payments every month is to make sure that their workers are paid on time and there are no undue deductions or delays. Also, workers who have not been paid can be immediately identified.
The ministry says its database includes details about the workforce of each company, so by tallying the monthly salary payment details it would 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,” said a senior ministry official.
The ministry held an interactive session with senior representatives from private sector companies on Sunday as part of an awareness campaign being conducted to encourage them to pay their workers through banks to facilitate monitoring.
If the salaries are being paid in cash, the details need to be forwarded to the ministry on CDs, senior ministry officials told the private sector representatives.
But critics of the ministry’s plans say they doubt if banks would be willing 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,” said a critic, requesting anonymity.
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 him, the best option under the circumstance is to allow companies to link their respective human resource departments to the e-government system so they can easily feed salary payment details into the system each month for any concerned government agency to access them whenever
Private companies already have e-cards through which they apply for issuance and renewal of work visas as also for exit permits for their employees.
“Linking their human resource departments and feeding salary payment details every month would just be an additional step for a private company,” said
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