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Labour Law Amendments Meet Many of Workers’ Demands

Middle East : 20 November 2011

Source: Oman Daily Observer

Hamad bin Khamis al Amri, Under-Secretary of Manpower Ministry for Labour Affairs, affirmed that the amendments introduced to the Labour Law which came into force with effect from the end of October 2011 have met a number of the demands of manpower in the private sector companies and establishments.

In a statement, he added that workers are required to be punctual, increase productivity and meet their duties towards their organisation. They should also be keen to implement the laws and regulations of their organisation as long as they are in line with the Labour Law and the Ministerial Decisions implementing them.

He added that the most notable amendments included providing the labour with two weekly off days after working for five consecutive days. These two days may be decided by the employer and employee and not necessarily to be on Thursday and Friday. The Minister of Manpower may define the places at which the workers may accumulate their weekly off days – subject that they are not more than 8 weeks. In all cases, the weekly off days will be paid.

The worker may not work more than 9 hours per day and a maximum of 45 hours a week with at least half an hour break. The Law allows workers to work extra hours if the need arises provided that basic and extra working hours should not be more than 12 hours a day.

The employer should give the employee the basic salary for the hour plus 25 per cent for the extra hours during day shifts and 50 per cent for the extra hours during the night shifts provided.

He added that workers at the ports, airport or vessels or ships or aircrafts may get allowance instead of the overtime subject that prior approval of the Ministry is obtained.

The maximum working hours for Muslims during Ramadhan are 6 and the total number of working hours during the week is 30.

The payment may be made every one or two weeks or every month provided that they agree for the same.

In all events, the payment should be made no more than 7 days from the end of the payment period.

The payment may be made earlier during special, national occasions and holidays subject that a decision is made by the respective minister on the same. The employer will not be released unless the payment is made at the employee bank account. Exception of this will be decided by the Minister.

He added that as per article 28 of the Omani Labour Law an employer who employs fifteen workers or more shall display in a visible place in his establishment, regulations for the system of work after their approval by the Ministry.

Such regulations shall include the rules regulating the work in the establishment, the rights and duties of both the worker and the employer, the rules regulating the worker’s relation with his colleagues and superiors and the rules governing the worker’s promotion, if the nature of the work so requires and specifying the categories of wages, increments and allowances of all kinds and time and place of payment thereof.

He pointed out that as per the amendments the worker shall get not less than fully paid 30 days annual leave taking into consideration the interests of the work. The annual leave may be obtained only after six months for joining work. The employee has the right to get six days emergency leave during the year. The Minister will issue the regulation for the same. The employee may not surrender his right for leave.

He also pointed out that as per the amendments women may not work between 9.00 and 6.00 am except in cases specified by the Minister, such as hospitals, health centres, airports and others.

The working woman may get special leave to cover the pre and post maternity period; 50 days fully paid subject that not exceeding three times during her service.

He also pointed out that the amendments covered the dismissal or termination of service. If the court reached a conviction that the employee termination was arbitrary or against the law, it may re instate the employee at his work or order the employer to pay him not less than three months salary calculated on the last full salary; taking into consideration the circumstances of the employee and his service period.

This will be alongside with the end of service gratuity and other entitlements approved by the law or the employment contract whichever is greater.

He added that as per the amendments, each employer who does not comply with the prescribed Omanisation rate will be punished by not less than RO 250 and not more than RO 500 fine for each Omani employee that should be employed. The employer should rectify the Omanisation rate during six months from the date of discovering the violation. The penalty will be doubled in case of recurrence.

Al A’mri called on the labour force to be abide by the amendments which secure them more stability at work and ensure the rights of the organisations they work for. He also called on the private sector to show more co-operation to enhance the real partnership towards achieving more Omanisation and development of manpower.

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