Overview of the Minimum Wage Act No. 17 of 2020
His highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, promulgated, on 8th of Oct 2020 Act No. 17 of 2020. Determining the Minimum Wage for Workers and Domestic Workers. In a legislative precedent that has not been entrusted in the Middle East as in recent history. The new provisions provide link between workers and their employers; the state of Qatar believes in the need to protect and promote the principle of human rights by protecting the weaker party in the contractual relationship. Particularly the simple majority of workers and domestic workers, in keeping with human and Islamic values.
The Act applies to all workers regardless their nationality and the sector they work in; it also applies to domestic workers, when it referred in its preamble to the Labor Code No. 14 of 2004 and the amended laws; the Domestic Employees Act No. 15 of 2017; the Act designates the category covered by the provisions of the Labor Code referred to as “workers”; while the name “Domestic Worker” is assigned to those who work in accordance with the provisions of the Domestic Employees Act, the law is thus covered by the provisions of a broad class of state workers.
The Act defines the minimum wage as (the lowest amount that workers and domestic workers can receive by this law regardless of their tasks, earnings, or skills levels). In other words, while specifying the minimum wage it did not consider the nature of his work, whether simple or harsh; also, not considered the level of the worker or domestic workers in the performance of his or her duties is as skillful or otherwise.
Moreover, the new legislation did not explicitly provide for specific minimum wage amounts but placed under the purview of the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. In turn, a decision establishing the minimum wage shall be issued and reviewed at least once a year to take in consider occasional developments; through and through a committee designated as the “Minimum Wage Commission”, which is competent and tasked with frequently to study and review the minimum wage and to submit its recommendations thereon to the Minister of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. This means that the minimum wages are not fixed and may change in line with life requirements, considering economic factors; including economic growth, competitiveness, and productivity; and the needs of workers, a domestic worker, and their families, including the justice required by the changes in life and the movement of life.
The Act addresses employers who perform fewer wages to their workers or domestic worker than the minimum established by a decision of the Minister of Administrative Development and Labor.
In an implementation of Act No. 17 of 2020 on the Determining of the minimum wage for workers and domestic workers, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs announced on its official electronic website the applying of the new minimum wage for all workers, effective Saturday, 20th of March 2021, so Companies are required to comply with the minimum wage of QR 1000 at the time of the conclusion of contracts, together with the allocation of an allowance by the employer in the event that the worker or employee is not provided with adequate housing and food, the minimum housing allowance is QR 500 and the minimum food allowance is QR 300, with the obligation to amend the employment contracts.
If natural or legal person violates the provisions of this Act, the Act provides that the Ministry of Labor may suspend the person’s operations that are similar to the operation subject of this violation.
The Labor Code No. 14 of 2004 provides that the employee’s benefits shall not be paid and deposited by a bank operating in the State. The employer shall be liable to a penalty of up to one year’s imprisonment and/or a fine of up to QR 2,000 and up to QR 10,000. In addition, Act 15 of 2017 concerning domestic workers, provides for failure by the employer to pay the employee, the employer shall be liable to a fine of up to QR 10,000.
To sum up, the new non-discriminatory minimum wage will add to the series of major labor reforms underway in the state.
* the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs Main Website:
Author: MR. MOHANAD BABIKER\ Senior Legal Consultant