Posted By: Amr H. Eldin
Post Date: 1/3/2017
Qatar – Gulf Crisis : Employment
Can I continue to employ Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini nationals?
There is no any restriction issued by Qatar authorities to continue employing Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini nationals within the territory of Qatar, without prejudice to Qatari labour laws for public and private sectors. For the time being, Qatar authorities declared that residents from boycotting nations have full freedom to remain in Qatar despite the ongoing Gulf crisis. However, and as per the current events, KSA, UAE, and Bahrain, have ordered the evacuation of their nationals from Qatar for an indefinite period, within 14 days from the date of the issuance of such decrees, and imposed penalties in case they do not comply with those decisions.
If Qatar authorities considered the current situation falls under the principle of force majeure, the employment relationship of Saudi, Emirati, and Bahraini nationals may be terminated due to force majeure, or suspended until further notice. In all cases, it should be considered that, such boycotting employees are not allowed to remain out of Qatar for more than the granted period set forth in Qatari labour laws for public and private sectors, besides, the laws govern the employment of judicial and diplomatic corps, EmiriDiwan, academic teaching staff, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Investment Authority, and Accounting Chamber.
What employment legislations may be affected by the current situation?
Due to the unexpected current decrees issued by KSA, UAE, and Bahrain authorities, labour issues may be raised in connection with the employment of their nationals in Qatar, as much as their employment, whether under Law No. 15 of 2016 Issuing the Civil Human Resources Law, or Law No. 14 of 2004 on the promulgation of Labour Law, besides, the laws govern the employment of judicial and diplomatic corps, EmiriDiwan, academic teaching staff, Qatar Petroleum, Qatar Investment Authority, and Accounting Chamber.
Will employment contracts be affected? If so, how will the courts handle these employment conflicts?
It depends on how the evacuation of GCC/Saudi nationals is handled, whether the employment is terminated under its provisions or suspended until the end of such exceptional circumstances, and the extent to which the current situation continue. By way of example, the employees who are working in private sectors, pursuant to the provisions of Article (61) of Law No. 14 of 2004 on the promulgation of Labour Law, may be dismissed without notice and payment of the end of service gratuity if they are absent from work site, without legitimate cause, for more than seven consecutive days or fifteen interrupted days in one year. On the other hand, the employee under such law, as per Article (51), may terminate a fixed term employment contract before its expiry date and without giving reasons, if an existence of a gross danger threatens the health and safety of the employee provided that the employer is aware of the danger and does not take the necessary actions to remove it.
In a similar framework, pursuant to Article (111) of Law No. 15 of 2016 Issuing the Civil Human Resources Law, the employee shall be considered to have resigned in the following cases:
If the employee is absent from work without permission for 15 consecutive days, even if this occurred after a legitimate leave, unless the employee presents within the next 15 days an acceptable justification. In this case, the period of absence may be counted as a legal leave if the leave balance allows it, otherwise the salary shall be deducted to cover the absent days, and If the employee fails to present any reasons to justify the absence or if such reasons were presented but rejected, the service shall be considered as terminated as of the day the employee was absent from work.
If the employee takes a leave for a non-consecutive period exceeding thirty (30) days without the permission of the employer. In such case, the service shall be considered as terminated on the day following the completion of this period.
In the event where the seconded employee is absent from work within 15 days after his/her permitted leave is over, unless the employee presents a justification within the next 15 days.
If the employee fails to present such justification or if such reasons are presented but were rejected, the service shall be considered as terminated as of the end of the secondment. In the three previous cases, the employee must be notified in writing. The notice must be given after seven (7) days of absence from work in the first case, and after fifteen (15) days in the second and third cases.
In the event where the employee joins any foreign entity for work without the authorization of the competent authority, the employee's service shall be considered as being terminated as of the date of joining the foreign entity.
In all cases, if any dispute arises due to the termination of the employment contract or in connection with the employee dues, the court will apply the provisions of Qatar labour laws, in accordance with the terms of the contract, depending on the nature of such employment. Furthermore, the court will interpret whether or not the provisions of force majeure shall be applied on the raised dispute.