Qatar has become the region’s first in adopting a non-discriminatory minimum wage by implementing the new minimum wage law on 20th March for hundreds of thousands of migrant workers.
The new law ensures all employees receive a minimum monthly wage of QR1000 and a minimum allowance of QR300 for food and QR500 for housing unless the employer provides both.
According to International Labour Organization (ILO), over 400,000 workers, constituting 20 percent of the private sector workforce, will benefit directly from the new law.
Qatar has a total population of 2.7 million, out of which only 300,000 are Qatari nationals.
As per records of Qatar Government Communication Office more than 5000 companies have updated their payroll systems already to adhere to the new law.
A series of labour reforms have been implemented in recent years by Qatar’s Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs.
In August 2020, Qatar had scrapped a rule that require employers’ consent to change jobs. Earlier, under the sponsorship system, migrant workers had to obtain their employer’s consent prior to changing jobs. This law had left employees dependent on the goodwill of their bosses, and often led to abuse and exploitation.
However, towards the final quarter of 2020, when the laws were amended, the new system contributed to over 78,000 successful job transfers, it was reported.
Qatar has always been committed to labour reforms. In the year 2018, Qatar had amended its Residency Law which allowed majority of migrant workers to exit the country without an exit visa.
According to Hassan al-Thawadi, the Secretary-General of Qatar’s World Cup Organizing Committee, this World Cup would serve as a catalyst for change, both in Qatar and in other parts of the world when it comes to workers’ rights.