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Qatar is an emirate, which means it is ruled by the Emir of Qatar. Qatar is a desert country bordering Saudi Arabia on the Arab peninsula. The country is mostly flat, and the landscape is barren and dry. There is only limited natural water supply and thus there is not much agriculture or crop farming possible, only 5% of the lands is used for agriculture such as for date palm plantations. Approximately 80% of the workforce in Qatar is composed of foreign nationals.
Contract of Employment
The Qatar Labour Law governs the majority of Qatar’s expatriate workforce except those expressly excluded by virtue of Article 3 including, but not limited to, workers from ministries and governmental organisations, companies established by Qatar Petroleum and casual and domestic workers. Where individuals are excluded from the Labour Law, their employment is subject to alternative legal and regulatory provisions (e.g. Human Resource Law, Civil Code, Qatar Petroleum policies and domestic workers law).
1. If the work contract is for a limited duration, said duration must not exceed 5 years. It may be renewed for an equal or a lesser period as may be agreed upon by both parties. A limited duration contract cannot be terminated without paying penalties.
2. A work contract for an unlimited duration (recommended by EWS) may contain a termination notice period clause which gives both sides the right to end the contract without having to give any reasons. For workers who receive their wages on an annual and monthly basis, the notice to terminate the contract must be given to the other party at least 1 month prior to leaving the work, if the service period was not less than 5 years. If the service period exceeds 5 years, the notice of termination of employment must be given 2 months earlier.
Workers who have completed one continuous year of service with their employer shall be entitled to annual leave with pay. This leave shall not be less than three weeks for those workers who have completed less than five years of service and four weeks for those workers who have completed five years or more of service. The reference to “weeks” is to calendar weeks.
Muslim workers shall have the right to an unpaid leave of four weeks to perform pilgrimage.
Working Hours and Overtime
Regular working hours shall not exceed 8 hours daily, 48 hours weekly, for workers of legal age. This excludes the month of Ramadan, when regular working hours shall not exceed six hours daily, 36 hours weekly. Shift rotation workers regular hours shall not exceed 8 hours daily or six hours during the month of Ramadan.
When actual working hours exceed the regular working hours, the additional time shall be considered overtime work and the worker shall receive for those hours his regular pay plus an additional 25% at least for overtime.
Actual working hours shall not exceed ten hours daily, unless the situation requires more hours to prevent a huge loss or a dangerous accident from occurring, or to repair or reduce the effect of said accident if it occurred.
Friday and Saturday are generally considered the weekend days of rest for all workers except rotation shift workers. If the worker does not receive wages for the regular weekend days of rest and the situation required him to work that day, he must be given another day to rest or paid regular hour wages plus at least 50% of said wages.
Working hours must include 1 or more rest periods for lunch or prayer, so that a worker does not work more than 5 continuous hours without rest except for the month of Ramadan. The rest period or periods shall not be counted as part of the working hours.
Female workers with a minimum of once continuous year of employment is entitled to 50 days of maternity leave with full pay, including prenatal and postnatal periods, provided that the postnatal period is not less than 35 days. It is important to note that maternity leave is in addition to and does not affect the female worker’s right to any other leave.
Male workers have no entitlement to paternity leave under the Labour Law.
Workers with a minimum of three months’ service are entitled to sick leave with pay for each year of service. Sick leave is subject to the worker providing a medical certificate as evidence of their sickness by a physician approved by the employer. Workers satisfying these requirements are entitled to sick leave as follows:
1. Full salary for the first two weeks of sick leave;
2. Half salary for the subsequent four weeks of sick leave; and
3. No pay for any sick leave exceeding the above (until work is resumed or the workerresigns or is terminated).
The employer is entitled to terminate the worker’s employment after 12 full weeks of sick leave if it has been established that the worker is unfit to perform their duty through a medical report issued by a competent physician.
The following are the official holidays which must be paid to the workers:
1. Al-Fitr Eid (After Ramadan) 3 days
2. Al-Adha Eid (Pilgrimage period) 3 days
3. Independence Day 1 day
In addition to the above-mentioned holidays, three days with full pay shall be granted to workers. These days are determined by the Government or the employer who may decide these three days for all of his workers at its sole discretion.
End of Service Compensation (Reward)
In addition to any amount due to the worker at the end of his service, the employer must pay the worker an end of service compensation (reward) for the duration in accordance with this Act, after working for at least one year.
This compensation is calculated as follows (base wage plus a cost-of-living allowance):
1. Three weeks for each year of the first five years of continuous service.
2. Four weeks for each year of service of the second five years of continuous service.
3. Five weeks for each year of the next following ten years of continuous service.
4. Six weeks for each year of service which exceeds twenty years of continuous service.
The employer shall have the right to deduct from the end of service compensation of the worker any amount owed by the worker to the employer.
Tax and Social Security
There are no income tax or social security contributions in Qatar.
VAT is applied at 5% on specified goods and services.
Work and Residence Permits (Expatiates)
EWS will handle the work and residence permit application for the expatriate workers.
Work and residence permits can be issued to non-citizens in accordance with the system of the Ministry of Labour and Social affairs, according to the following conditions:
1. The applicant should have a valid passport (min. 6 months validity)
2. The applicant should have good conduct certificate (police report)
3. Diploma / School credentials with Qatar embassy and MOFA stamp
3. Medical fitness test clearance in Qatar (includes chest x-ray and a blood test).
In-country Transfer of Work and Residence Permits (Expatiates)
EWS can handle the in-country transfer of work and residence permit for the expatriate workers.
Typically, the following documents are required:
1. Original NOC from current sponsor
2. Valid Computer Card of current sponsor
3. Valid Company registration of current sponsor
4. Passport copy
5. QID / Residence copy
6. Photo in blue background
7. Diploma / School credentials with embassy and MOFA stamp
8. Medical fitness test clearance in Qatar (includes chest x-ray and a blood test)
In all cases, the work and residency permit is valid for two years when issued for the first time and may be renewed for a term of minimum one year there onwards. Once the worker receives his/her work and residence permit, they can sponsor their immediate family members to live in Qatar.