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Qatar Aims to Protect Financial Position of Workers

Qatar : 06 October 2010

The government of Qatar is looking at the possibility of demanding monthly salary data from private firms.

In an effort to create better financial security for workers, Qatar is considering putting monthly salary reporting requirements in place for private businesses.

This information would be used to ensure those working for Qatar private businesses are being paid on time without delay and with only the proper deductions in place.  This data will also allow the government to note which labourers have not received their pay.

The possible scenario would see businesses save the monthly salary details onto a disc and delivering that to the ministry.  Companies are not yet able to deposit wages directly into employee bank accounts.

Under the authority of labour laws, the ministry currently runs a detailed database covering commercial organizations in the nation.

That database contains detailed information on the workforce of Qatar businesses.  By comparing the monthly salary data with this information the ministry will be able to immediately pinpoint whether or not employees in a company have been paid in full.

Recent comments by a senior official in the ministry stated that analysis of the salary data will be quickly and easily done using the computerized systems in place.

The Qatar government is also thinking about rolling out a campaign for awareness aimed at private businesses that do not employ direct-to-bank salary payments.  A recent meeting between the ministry and senior bank reps was held to discuss this possibility.

Critics of such a campaign state that banks may not be willing to offer individual accounts to employees in the lower pay brackets.

One critic explained why the banks will be weary of this direction.  Almost all banks currently have minimum requirements in place that state a wage of a few thousands riyals is needed to open a new account.  Because employees in the lower end of the pay scale will bring in a monthly average of only QR800 (or Dh 807.07), banks will need to significantly stretch those requirements already in place.

It was also noted that should banks decide to allow this mass of employees to open new accounts, ATM cash withdrawals at the beginning of each month could cause major line ups and extended wait times.

Another method of relaying the salary data was suggested.  Since private firms already have e-cards for the application of work visas and the issuance of exit permits for workers, the salary data could be transferred simply and efficiently over a link between human resource departments and the government’s online system.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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