Employment Contracts: Renewal and Termination in Qatar
When you decide to work in Qatar, it is better to be familiar of the different types of employment contracts and terms to be guided during your tenure with your employer or sponsor. Here are the guidelines from the Workers’ Rights Booklet of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC).
What is the duration of the contract?
There are two types of contracts:
- Fixed-term contract
- Indefinite contract
What does a ‘fixed term contract’ mean?
It means: To undertake to perform certain work for the employer under his administration and supervision for the period agreed in the contract which shall not exceed five years, renewable for a period or other similar periods. After the expiry of the probation period stated in the contract, neither of the parties to the contract may independently terminate the contract before the specified period, otherwise it shall be deemed unlawful termination, giving the other party the right to compensation for the damages suffered.
What does an ‘open or indefinite contract’ mean?
It means: to undertake to perform certain work for the employer, under his administration and supervision for an indefinite period of time, and either party to the contract may terminate it without giving reasons at any time after the commitment period of the notice.
What is the duration of the notice in the open contract?
If the contract of employment is indefinite (open), both parties may terminate it without giving reasons, in which case the party wishing to terminate the contract must notify the other party in writing as follows:
- For workers whose wages are paid annually or monthly, notification shall be given before the termination of the con- tract by a period not less than one month if the period of service is five years or less. If the period of service exceeds five years, the notice period shall be at least two months.
- In other cases, such as workers who are paid on a daily basis or whose wages are paid as per their work production, the notification shall be given at the following times:
* If the period of service is less than one year, the notice period shall be at least one week.
* If the period of service is more than one year and less than five years, the notice period shall be at least two weeks.
* If the period of service is more than five years, the notice period shall be at least one month.
What is the ruling on the situation in which your contract is terminated without meeting the notice period?
A person who has terminated the contract without taking into account the period of the notice shall compensate the other party with equal wage of the worker for the period of notifica- tion.
What is the duration of the ‘probation period’ in the contract?
The duration of the probation period in the contract means the period during which the worker is put on probation to prove his fitness to continue the work, and it must not exceed six months maximum, from the date of commencement of work. The employer may terminate the contract during this probationary period, provided that he informs you of the same, three days prior to the termination of the contract.
Is it permissible for the employer to assign you to perform a work that is not agreed upon?
He may, if that prevents the occurrence of an accident or repairs result of an accident, with the grant of the rights resulting therefrom.
He also may, if the work is required temporarily; is not substantially different from the original work and does not involve abuse on your right; provided that your wages are not reduced.
What is a ‘vocational training contract’?
The Qatari Labor Law requires the employer who employs fifty workers or more to train the equivalent of (5%) of the total number of his workers from Qataris who are nominated by the Labor Department of the Ministry according to the approved training program from the Ministry.
The vocational training contract shall be written, specifying the type of occupation or profession, the duration of the train- ing, its stages, and the amount of the remuneration paid to the trainee.
The parties may terminate the training contract at any time on legitimate grounds, provided that such notification shall be in writing at least seven days before the date of termination.
What are ‘temporary contracts’?
Temporary contracts are the nature of which assumes the completion of work in a limited period, or which focuses on a par- ticular work and ends with accomplishment of that work, such as the contract concluded by the employer with some workers to provide services during the period of one of the celebrations or conferences or the like, or the contract concluded by the employer with the worker to carry out the repair or painting work for his house.
The temporary contract ends at the end of the work agreed upon in the contract. If the employer does not announce his wish to renew your contract or legally loan you to another em- ployer or transfer your sponsorship, then you must leave the country because the purpose of the contract is no more valid.
Is your contract automatically renewed if you continue to work after the end of the contract without the objection of the employer?
- If the contract is fixed-term and the parties have continued to implement it after the expiry of its term without an explicit agreement, the contract shall be deemed to be renewed for an indefinite period of time with the same conditions, and the renewal period shall be considered an extension of the previous period and shall be calculated from the date of entering the service of the employer for the first time.
- If the “work specified in the contract” ends and your performance continues without the objection of the employer, is this consid- ered a renewal of the contract?
- If the contract is for the execution of a specific work, the contract is terminated by its accomplishment. If the work, by its nature, is renewable, and the contract continues to be exe- cuted after the agreed work has been completed, the contract shall be considered renewed for another similar period, i.e. the renewed contract shall be a ‘fixed term’
Example: If the agreement in the contract is on the manufacture and installation of a certain number of doors to the employer and the worker completed these works, the contract ends by such completion.
For example: if the contract is by its nature renewable as if it were agreed in the contract on the installation of air conditioners for a property consisting of 100 housing units, and the subject of the contract was the installation of these devices for ten units only, and the installation is completed, but work continued after that, the contract shall be deemed to be renewed for a similar period and under the same conditions, i.e. shall remain a fixed term.
When is it permissible for you to terminate the employment contract?
You may terminate your employment contract whether fixed or indefinite while retaining your right to end of service benefits in the following cases:
- If the employer breaches his obligations under the contract, or violates the labor law.
- If you or a member of your family has committed an attack or an act that is contrary to morality.
- If the employer committed fraud in relation to the terms of the contract.
- If there is a serious risk to your safety or health, provided that the employer is aware of the existence of this danger but did not work to remove it.
END OF SERVICE BENEFITS
Is it permissible for the employer to fire you and terminate your contract without notice and without granting you end of service benefits?
He may do so in the following cases:
- impersonating another person or nationality other than your nationality, or submitting false papers, documents and certificates, or if you commit an error resulting in a serious loss of material to the employer.
- If you have violated more than once instructions for the safety of workers and establishment despite warning you in writing, provided that the instructions you must follow are written and displayed in a visible place.
- Violating your labor contract or violation of the labor law more than once despite a written warning to you.
- If found during work hours under the effect of drugs or alcohol.
-Assault on your employer, manager or one of your superiors during work.
- Repeating your assault on your colleagues even though you were warned in writing.
- Absence from work without legitimate reason more than seven consecutive days or fifteen days intermittently during the year.
- The conviction with a final judgment in a crime of honor or honesty.
How do you calculate the end of service bonus?
The end of service bonus shall be awarded if the period of work is for a full year or more, and is due for the whole number of years of service, and this remuneration shall be determined by the parties, provided that it is not less than three weeks' wages for each year of service.
- If you do not accept the opinion of the employer in determining the number of years of service, you can file a lawsuit on the determination of the number of years of service payable for the bonus.
- Is it permissible to terminate your service during the period of leave from work?
- It is not permissible to terminate your contract or even notify you of terminating your service during the period of leave.
When are you required to pay the value of the travel ticket?
The employer is required to pay the price of the travel ticket at the time of recruitment and upon the expiry of your contract, and the employer also must pay the value of the travel ticket when you make your annual leave if the contract includes it.
You must pay for the travel ticket if you leave work, or have submitted your resignation before the end of the contract without a legal reason.
The employer shall pay the price of the ticket in the indefinite contract at the end of service.