The Wage Protection System in Qatar
“Qatar today officially launches one of its most “significant” labour reforms to guarantee migrant workers’ wages.
The Wage Protection System (WPS) aims to ensure that migrant labourers, many working on 2022 World Cup-related projects, receive their pay on time.
Under the new system, workers will be paid either twice a month or monthly, and the wages electronically transferred direct to their bank accounts.
Failure to pay salaries on time, especially for blue-collar workers, has been a complaint voiced by some rights groups against companies in the state.” – Gulf Times
This should be good news indeed for employees who don’t receive their payments on time. Those who are employed by smaller companies or even those who work at engineering companies typically face this problem. You work and toll throughout the month, expecting that you’ll get paid on time but when the end of the month arrives, you don’t get your money or your check and your bank account stays close to empty.
I myself experienced when I was working as a consultant for Saudi Aramco years before. Since we are hired by a 3rd party company to work for Aramco, it’s the contracting company who pays our salary, which should be at the end of the month. The first few month were ok and we were paid without any delays, but then slowly, the delays became days, and then weeks. It didn’t affect me much since I have some extra savings but it is frustrating. How much more for people who depend on receiving their salaries on a specific day of the month to pay bills, arrears or as part of their monthly budget.
I am not really sure how the inspectors of Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs could monitor all businesses here in Qatar and implement the Wage Protection System in Qatar. Would it mean that any registered business should submit a list of all their employees? What if they have say 1,000 employees but only submit 500 names on the list, is that a possible loophole?
Lastly, this doesn’t really cover the thousands of people employed as household help and suffer the same delayed payment, or even non-payment, of salary due to them by their employers. If the Qatar Government wants to succeed in this initiative, they should start with the recruitment agencies and monitor all incoming workers coming through these agencies and verify the contracts agreed and signed by the employee and the employer. People who are recruited by these agencies are sometimes given a contract that covers the job they are to be doing and compensation but when they are passed to the employers, none of the agreed and signed details of the contract are followed; a sales person turns into a maid and the agreed 2000QR salary becomes 800QR. If this issue is closely monitored by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs along with the Wage Protection System, and in which it covers not only registered businesses but any worker employed through the recruiting agency, then this should truly be a step ahead on the right direction towards positive reforms in Qatar labor.