Changes to the Labour Law affect the payment of salaries in Qatar
On the 18 February 2015, the Emir issued Law No. 1 of 2015 (Amending Law) which amends provisions of Law No. 14 of 2004 (Labour Law). The Labour Law is the principal legislative instrument which sets out the legal rights and obligations of employers, employees and labour committees in Qatar. Of the changes effected to the Labour Law by the Amending Law, the most significant is the change to the manner in which employee salaries are paid.
Previously under the Labour Law, employers were permitted to pay their employees' salaries by the following means:
- in cash to the employee directly at the employee's place of work during business hours;
- to the employee's nominated bank account in Qatar; or
- to an agent appointed by the employee.
The Amending Law, however, changes the above regime, by requiring that an employee's salary be paid into the bank account nominated by the employee. An employer will be deemed not to have paid its employee(s) unless the salary is paid in this manner. As such, the Labour Law no longer permits employers to pay their employees in cash.
Employers must be fully compliant with these changes within six months from date the Amending Law came into effect, although this period may be extended by the Minister. Any employer found to have breached the new rules shall be sentenced to up to a month in prison and issued with a fine of between QAR 2,000 and QAR 6,000.