Changes to Working Practices
The Council of Ministers at its 13th meeting of 2020 held on 1 April made important decisions regarding working practices in the private sector in light of the current COVID-19 health crisis. It is important that employers comply with these requirements in order to avoid enforcement action being taken against them, and also to support the State of Qatar in its efforts to contain COVID-19.
The Council of Ministers decided (amongst other matters) to:
- Reduce the number of workers present in private sector workplaces to 20% of the total number of workers in each workplace - the remaining 80% of workers are to work remotely from their homes; and
- Set the working hours for employees and workers at their workplaces in the government and private sectors to six working hours per day, starting from seven in the morning until one in the afternoon.
The Coucil of Ministers excluded the following from the above decision in relation to reduced working hours:
- The military;
- Companies operating in the security sector;
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions;
- Companies operating in the health sector;
- Companies operating in the oil and gas sector;
- Employees of government agencies whose nature of their work requires their presence; and
- Workers in major State projects
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry further exempted the following from both above decisions:
- Food stores;
- Restaurants (deliveries and takeaways);
- Maintenance companies;
- e-Commerce companies;
- Telecom companies;
- Petrol stations;
- Logistics services companies; and
- Firms operating in ports, airports, and customs service.
It was also decided by the Council of Ministers that where at all possible teleconferencing or other modern technological methods should be used to hold meetings, and in the event this is not possible, and in cases of necessity, meetings in person should be held by no more than five persons.
Duration of restrictions
The abovementioned decisions of the Council of Ministers are effective from 2 April 2020 for a period of two weeks (which may be extended further).
In light of the above decisions, we would advise that employers assess their workplace for compliance, including the number of employees attending each workplace and their working hours.
For further information, please contact Ben Brown or Alistair Stewart.