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What is the meaning of minimum wage?
A minimum wage is the lowest remuneration employers can legally pay their workers, meaning the basic salary below which workers may not sell their labour or service. Most countries have introduced minimum wages by legislation.
In August 2020, the Government of Qatar adopted a minimum wage law. The new minimum wage in Qatar has been introduced to improve living standards for workers and their families back home. It will also lead to a more skilled and productive workforce.
This article explains in detail the minimum wage in Qatar and frequently asked questions related to the payment of minimum wage.
How much is the minimum wage in Qatar?
Law No. 17 of 2020 sets the minimum wage in Qatar for all private-sector workers, including domestic workers, at QAR 1,000 per month as a basic wage, as well as QAR 500 per month allocated by the employer for accommodation expenses and QAR 300 per month for food, unless the employer already provides adequate food or accommodation for the employee or domestic worker.
It means the employer can either provide food and accommodation or may prefer to pay more so employees can arrange their own food and accommodation.
Assuming you are an employee in Qatar, there are three different rates for the minimum wage:
1) If your employer provides you with decent food and accommodation (that is, you do not pay for food and accommodation), you are entitled to a basic wage of at least QAR 1,000.
2) If your employer provides you with decent accommodation but does not provide you with food, you are entitled to a food allowance of no less than QAR 300 on top of a basic wage of at least QAR 1,000. In this case, you should receive at least QAR 1,300 per month.
3) If your employer does not provide you with accommodation or food, you are entitled to allowances of no less than QAR 300 for food and QAR 500 for accommodation on top of a basic wage of at least QAR 1,000. In this case, you should receive at least QAR 1,800 per month.
Minimum Wage in Qatar: FAQ For Workers
Does the minimum wage apply to all workers in Qatar?
Yes. The minimum wage applies to all workers regardless of their nationality and whatever job they are doing. This includes women and men employed by households.
When will the minimum wage come into force?
The minimum wage is effective from 20 March 2021 (six months after the law was published in the official gazette).
How will my overtime be calculated?
When the new minimum wage comes into force, the overtime rate must be based on no less than the new minimum basic wage. It could be higher, depending on the terms of your contract. (Articles 74-76 of the Labour Law).
How will my end of service gratuity be calculated?
If your contract ends after the new minimum wage comes into force, your end of service gratuity should be calculated based on no less than the new minimum basic wage (Article 72 of the Labour Law).
Under my current contract, I am receiving less than the new minimum wage. Does the new law apply to me?
Yes, after the new minimum wage comes into force, the new law applies to you regardless of the amount stated in your current contract. The law does not require you and your employer to sign a new contract for you to receive the new wage.
Will I be affected if I am already receiving more than the new minimum wage?
Not necessarily. If your basic wage, food and accommodation are already above what is required by law, your employer is not obliged to increase your pay. You can try to negotiate a higher salary or more benefits, but it would have to be agreed to by your employer.
Can my employer reduce my pay to the new minimum wage?
If your employer attempts to reduce your payment to the minimum wage level, this will constitute a breach of contract, and you could lodge a labour complaint.
Article 5 of the new Ministerial Decree (No. 17 of 2020 Determining the Minimum Wage for Workers and Domestic Workers) states that your employer cannot use the new legislation to justify lowering your salary and offer you conditions that are less favourable than the conditions in your existing contract.
What should I do if I receive less than the minimum wage?
You could raise this with your employer and/or notify the Ministry of Labour. You can submit a complaint at the Ministry in person, on the hotline 16008 or by email at [email protected]
Minimum Wage in Qatar: FAQ For Employers
How will the Qatar minimum wage be enforced?
The wages of workers covered by the Labour Law must be paid according to the Ministerial Decision on the Wage Protection System (WPS) (No. 4 of 2015). The WPS will identify instances where workers are paid less than the legal minimum.
Labour inspectors will also monitor wage payment practices, as well as ensure accommodation standards meet minimum legal requirements.
Is there a penalty for non-compliance?
The penalty for non-compliance is a fine of QAR 2,000 to QAR 6,000 for each worker in each instance or imprisonment for a maximum period of one month. Companies will be prohibited from obtaining government services until they have paid workers their due wages.
The Law on Domestic Workers (No. 15 of 2017) stipulates a fine not exceeding QAR 10,000 if the employer does not pay the agreed monthly wage.
What are the minimum accommodation and food standards?
Accommodation standards are set out in Ministerial Decision No. 18 of 2014.
Workers should have three meals per day that are culturally appropriate, nutritious and provide sufficient calories to keep them healthy.
What will happen to the existing employment contracts below the minimum wage?
When the new minimum wage comes into force, you are legally required to pay workers at least QAR 1,000 per month, even if their contract states a wage under this amount. The law does not require a new employment contract to be signed for them to receive the new minimum wage.
How does this affect workers already earning above the minimum wage?
Suppose you are currently paying a worker the new minimum wage (i.e. QAR 1,000) or higher and arranging for decent accommodation and food. In that case, you are not obliged to adjust their pay or allowances.
Workers receiving less than QAR 1,300 and buying their own food should have their wage adjusted upwards to at least this amount to reflect the minimum food allowance.
The new minimum wage does not directly affect workers earning a basic wage above QAR 1,800 because it is more than the minimum basic wage plus all the allowances.
Reducing a worker’s pay to the minimum level during their current contract would constitute a breach of contract. Article 5 of the new Ministerial Decree (No. 17 of 2020 Determining the Minimum Wage for Workers and Domestic Workers) states that the employer cannot use the new legislation as a justification to lower a salary and offer conditions that are less favourable than the conditions in the existing contract.
How was the new Qatar minimum wage established?
The Government of the State of Qatar, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization, conducted a comprehensive analysis of wages in the country, the needs of workers and their families, and the economic impact of different scenarios.
National and international experts and a wide group of workers and employers were also consulted. The process has drawn on principles in the international convention on minimum wage setting.
When and how will the minimum wage rate be adjusted again?
The National Minimum Wage Committee is responsible for monitoring the impact of the minimum wage and proposing adjustments periodically. The Committee is comprised of relevant government and non-government entities. They will routinely consult with experts, workers and employers in formulating their views.
Where can I find more information?
For more information, please refer contact the Ministry of Labour by telephone on 16008 or at [email protected]
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Reference and Infographics Source: Ministry of Labour