Hire in Qatar
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Qatar.
Currency of Qatar
Qatari Rial (QAR)
The Capital of Qatar
Time Zone in Qatar
UTC + 3
Important Facts About the Country of Qatar
Introduction to Qatar
Qatar, formally known as the State of Qatar, is a nation located in Western Asia. Operating as a semi-constitutional monarchy, the country heavily depends on foreign labor. Migrant workers comprise 86% of the population and 94% of the workforce. Qatar’s remarkable economic development has predominantly stemmed from its petroleum and natural gas sectors, which were established in 1940.
What to Know about Qatar's Geography
Qatar sits on a compact desert peninsula that stretches northward from the expansive Arabian Peninsula. It spans approximately 160 kilometers from north to south and 80 kilometers from east to west. The country shares its border with eastern Saudi Arabia, where it is connected to the mainland. It lies to the north and west of the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, the island nation of Bahrain is located approximately 40 kilometers northwest of Qatar.
Climate in Qatar
From June to September, Qatar experiences a scorching and humid climate, characterized by sweltering daytime temperatures that can reach up to 50°C. During the more moderate seasons of spring (April and May) and fall (October and November), the weather is temperate, with average temperatures hovering around 17°C. Winters in Qatar are slightly cooler than the other seasons. Precipitation is infrequent and scarce in the region.
The Culture of Qatar
Qatar’s rich heritage and culture bear a resilient influence from Bedouin traditions, which reflect its nomadic roots and encompass practices rooted in centuries-old customs. However, despite these strong traditional ties, the country’s population is predominantly urban and coastal, leading to a thoroughly modern daily life. Qatar also experiences the influence of India, East Africa and other countries in the Persian Gulf region. While Qataris are known for their warm hospitality and inclusive attitude towards the expat community, local religious and cultural customs hold immense significance in the society.
Religions Observed in Qatar
Islam serves as the official religion of Qatar, with a majority of Qataris identifying as Sunni Muslims, The country hosts a small minority of Shiʿi adherents as well. The ruling Thani family (Āl Thānī) follows the same interpretation of Islam known as Wahhābī, which is also practiced by the rulers of Saudi Arabia. In contrast, the non-Qatari population showcases a more diverse religious composition, with Muslims, Christians and Hindus comprising the largest religious groups in the country.
Languages Spoken in Qatar
The official language of Qatar is Arabic and the majority of Qataris speak a variant of Gulf Arabic that bears resemblance to the dialects spoken in neighboring countries. Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools while English is widely used in various contexts. Within the sizable expatriate community, Persian and Urdu are frequently spoken languages.
Qatar Human Resources at a Glance
Employment Law Protections in Qatar
Qatar operates under a legal system that incorporates two distinct avenues for implementing laws:
- The Sharia court, also known as the Islamic court, takes into account the Islamic sociocultural context and upholds Sharia law.
- The Adlia courts, also referred to as civil courts, originated from Qatar’s independence and aim to meet the legal requirements of non-Muslim residents in the country.
The Qatar Labor Law establishes the minimum standards for employee rights and benefits, which are binding for both employers and employees.
Article 4 of Labor Law No. 14 of 2004 outlines the protections afforded to workers, which employers are obliged to uphold. These minimum obligations encompass limitations on working hours, provisions for maternity leave for female workers, advanced notice for termination of employment, clearly defined wages and other regulations designed to safeguard the interests of both workers and employers.
Employment Contracts in Qatar
It is required that all contracts and pertinent documents be written in Arabic. Although the employer may provide copies in other languages, in case of any disagreement or conflict, the Arabic version will hold greater authority. It is mandatory for the contract to be documented in writing. A copy should be provided to:
- one copy each for the employer and employee
- one copy for the Ministry of Administrative Development and Social Affairs (MADLSA) (also known as the Labor Ministry).
The contract must clearly outline the terms of the employment relationship between the two parties involved, encompassing all pertinent details such as:
- Employer’s name and place of work
- Worker’s name, qualifications, nationality, profession, place of residence and proof of identity document
- Date of contract
- Nature and type of work and the place of employment
- Date of commencement of work
- Duration of the contract if it is a fixed period
- Salary, compensation and other benefits (accommodation, transportation, food, etc.)
- Method, date and frequency of salary payment
In June 2020, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs launched a digital authentication system for multilingual employment contracts. This innovative system aims to offer a comprehensive digital solution for authenticating employment contracts within companies, providing an alternative to traditional methods.
Qatar's Contract Terms
Employment contracts in Qatar can vary in duration, ranging from limited-term to indefinite contracts. Limited-term contracts have a maximum duration of five years. The specific terms of the contract, including rights to termination and termination notice requirements, depend on the nature of the agreement.
In the case of signing a new contract for the second or third time, it is essential for the contract to include the date on which the first contract commenced. This ensures clarity and reference to the previous contractual period.
Checks on an employee’s previous employment, medical, financial and educational background are allowed.
Work Rules in Qatar
Employers in Qatar with a workforce of ten or more employees are required to submit their work regulations and disciplinary code to the Ministry of Manpower. The work regulations must encompass essential information regarding the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and the employee. This document should include guidelines pertaining to internal reporting structures, the determination and payment of wages and bonuses and the considerations for promotions within the organization.
For employers with a staff count of 50 or more employees, the Labor Law mandates the establishment of a complaints and grievance policy. This policy must be approved by the Ministry. The implementation of these regulations, as well as any subsequent amendments, is subject to the approval of the Labor Department. If the employer does not receive notification of approval within one month from the submission date, the regulations can be considered as approved.
Furthermore, the regulations must be prominently displayed in a location within the company premises that is easily noticeable to all employees. This ensures accessibility and awareness of the rules and guidelines outlined in the regulations.
Qatar's Guidelines Regarding Probation Period/Trial Period
The maximum duration of a probationary period in Qatar is six months and the specifics of this period must be agreed upon mutually by the employer and employee. A worker cannot be subjected to more than one probationary period by the same employer.
In the event that, it is proven during the probationary period that the worker is unable to fulfill their job responsibilities for any reason, the employer has the right to terminate the contract. However, the employer must provide the worker with a minimum notice period of one month. Similarly, the worker also holds the right to terminate the employment during the probationary period by giving written notice.
In cases where the worker is transferred to another employer, the new employer is required to compensate the previous employer for a portion of the recruitment fees and air ticket expenses. The compensation is capped at two months’ worth of the employee’s basic wage.
If an employee serving a probationary period intends to leave the country, a notice period of two months is applicable before their departure.
Regulations and Rules Regarding Working Hours in Qatar
According to the Qatar Labor Law, the maximum workweek duration is 48 hours, equivalent to a maximum of six business days, with each day not exceeding eight hours of work. However, during the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to a maximum of 46 hours per week, with a daily limit of six hours. It is mandatory for there to be one or more breaks, lasting from one to three hours, designated for prayer, rest, and meals.
Furthermore, workers are not allowed to work for more than five consecutive hours. Friday is designated as the weekly rest day for all workers, providing a day of rest and respite.
Qatar Laws Regarding Overtime
Overtime refers to any additional hours worked by an employee beyond their regular working hours. In such cases, the employee is entitled to receive additional compensation, which is equal to their normal wage along with an extra payment of at least 25% for the additional hours worked beyond the normal working hours.
If the overtime hours occur between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a regular working day, the employee is entitled to their normal wages plus an additional 50% of their wage. When an employee works on a designated rest day, they are entitled to their normal wages plus an increase of no less than 150%.
It’s important to note that the maximum duration for overtime hours cannot exceed two hours per day.
Timesheets & Record Keeping in Qatar
Payroll reports in Qatar must be retained for six years.
Rules Regarding Bonus and 13th Month Pay in Qatar
After completing one year of continuous service, employees in Qatar are entitled to receive a bonus of at least three weeks’ salary for each year of service.
In Qatar, it is a requirement that an employee receives three written warnings before they can be dismissed unless the dismissal is due to criminal activity, in which case immediate termination is permitted.
The employee holds the right to terminate the employment contract before its specified duration in certain scenarios. For fixed-term contracts, this can be done by providing notice, while for open-ended contracts, it can be done without notifying the employer. Such scenarios include:
If the employer violates the labor law, has committed fraud or breaches his obligations under the contract
If the employee has committed a criminal offense
If there is a serious risk to the employee’s safety or health,and the employer was aware of the risk but did not work to remove it.
On the other hand, an employer has the authority to terminate an employee’s contract with immediate effect, without notice or payment of end-of-service gratuity (EOSG), in cases of gross misconduct. Examples of gross misconduct include:
submitting false documents
assuming a false identity or nationality
causing significant financial loss to the employer, or disclosing confidential information
Additionally, if an employee is found intoxicated or under the influence of drugs during working hours, it can also lead to immediate termination.
If the employer terminates the contract without notice, they are required to compensate the employee with an amount equivalent to the basic wage for the notice period or the remaining portion of the notice period.
In the case of terminations due to economic or structural reasons, the employer is required to inform the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs at least 15 days in advance. The employer must provide the reason for the terminations and the number of employees affected as part of the notification process.
Qatar's Requirements Regarding Notice Periods
The notice period varies by length of service:
First two years of service: one month’s notice
More than two years of service: two months’ notice
For workers who are paid on a daily basis or whose wages are paid per work product, the required notice period is as follows:
One year or less of service: one week’s notice
One to five years of service: at least two weeks’ notice
More than five years’ service: at least one month’s notice
In cases where employers or employees fail to fulfill their notice requirements, they are responsible for providing compensation equal to the worker’s basic wage for the notice period or the remaining portion of the notice period that was supposed to be served. It is important to honor these notice requirements to ensure a fair and orderly transition.
However, if a foreign worker departs from the country without adhering to the notice period, there is a possibility of receiving a labor ban in Qatar, which could potentially last for one year. This serves as a measure to enforce compliance with notice obligations and ensure proper labor practices.
Redundancy/Severance Pay in Qatar
The end of service (EOS) benefit refers to a monetary compensation provided to employees upon the termination of their employment. Employees who have completed a minimum of one year of service with the employer are eligible for the EOS, in addition to any other outstanding payments owed upon termination.
However, employees who receive retirement benefits or participate in comparable schemes that offer greater value than the EOS are not entitled to receive the EOS payment. This ensures that employees who already receive more substantial retirement benefits are not duplicated in their compensation upon termination.
Other Termination Formalities
Upon the termination of the employment relationship, it is the employer’s responsibility to arrange for the repatriation of the worker to their country of recruitment or to an agreed-upon location by the parties involved.
The employer is required to complete the repatriation process within a timeframe of two weeks from the contract’s expiry date. However, if the worker joins another employer before leaving Qatar, the obligation to facilitate the repatriation of the employee shifts to the new employer.
Additionally, the employee is entitled to the following end-of-service benefits:
- Repatriation ticket if applicable
- Notice period pay if applicable
- Any unutilized leave (vacation) pay
- Any other outstanding payment or deduction
Post-Termination Restraints/Restrictive Covenants
To ensure enforceability, any non-compete clause must be included in the employment contract. However, such a clause cannot have a duration exceeding one year.
The purpose of a non-compete clause is to restrict employees from engaging in any business activities within the same economic sector or directly competing with their former employer. Its intent is to protect the employer’s interests and prevent any potential harm that may arise from competition.
Fixed Term Contacts for Qatar Employees
If the parties involved in a fixed-term contract continue their employment relationship after the contract’s expiration without reaching a new agreement, it will be presumed that the contract has automatically been renewed for an indefinite period, maintaining the same terms and conditions as before. This assumption is made in the absence of any explicit agreement stating otherwise between the parties.
Tax and Social Security Information for Employers in Qatar
Personal Income Tax in Qatar
Individual income received from salaries or wages is not subject to taxation in Qatar. This means that employees do not have to pay taxes on their income earned through employment in the country.
Social Security in Qatar
Currently, the social security system in Qatar is applicable only to Qatari nationals employed in the public sector and select entities such as joint-stock companies and organizations determined by the Council of Ministers at the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority (GRSIA). Employees in the private sector are not covered by this system unless they are Qatari nationals employed by these mandated entities as per the GRSIA.
However, new legislation in the form of Social Insurance Law No. (1) of 2022 is set to include Qatari nationals in the private sector, unless their employers offer a private pension plan with superior benefits compared to those provided by the GRSIA.
Certain exemptions exist for companies that employ Qataris on a temporary basis for less than one year or as independent contractors. Additionally, employers who offer retirement plans that provide better benefits than the social security system are exempt from mandatory participation.
|Salary Cap (QAR)||Employer Contribution (%)||Employee Contribution (%)||Pension (QAR)|
Employers are responsible for deducting the monthly contributions, including the employer’s portion, and depositing them into the bank account of the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority (GRSIA) in the State of Qatar. Alongside these contributions, employers must provide monthly statements containing the names of contributors, date of payment and the value of the contributions deposited. They are also required to inform GRSIA in Qatar of the contribution details deposited in the bank account monthly.
The contributions are paid in the local currency of the worker’s country, following the determined schedule of their respective retirement scheme.
Deductions from Pay
Sharia alimony debt holds precedence over all other debts, ensuring its priority in terms of repayment. However, the total sum of the alimony debt cannot exceed 35% of the employee’s wage.
When providing a loan to an employee, the employer is prohibited from charging any interest. Additionally, the employer must not deduct more than 10% from the employee’s wage to settle the loan amount, ensuring that a fair and reasonable portion is deducted for repayment purposes.
Important Information for Qatar Employees
Wages and other payments to employees are required to be paid in the local currency, specifically the Qatari currency. These payments are transferred to the employee’s bank account.
Employees employed on an annual or monthly basis should receive payment at least once every month. It is mandatory for all employers to make these payments through the Wage Protection System (WPS) within seven days from the due date.
Regarding employees who are not employed on an annual or monthly basis, their wages should be paid at least once every two weeks. This ensures that employees receive regular and timely compensation for their work.
The Qatar Wage Protection System (WPS) is an electronic salary transfer system designed to facilitate the payment of employee salaries in the private sector. This system enables institutions and organizations to transfer salaries to their employees through approved banks, exchange bureaus and financial institutions regulated by the Qatar Central Bank.
The primary purpose of the WPS is to establish a comprehensive database maintained by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA). This database records wage payments made by employers in the private sector, ensuring that employees receive their salaries in full and on time. The WPS plays a vital role in promoting transparency and accountability in wage disbursements, benefiting both employers and employees.
Online payslips are permissable.
Upon completion of at least twelve months of service, employees in Qatar are entitled to paid annual leave. The duration of this leave varies based on the length of service, as outlined below:
- Less than five years: three weeks
- More than five years: four weeks
The entitlement to annual leave is prorated based on the employee’s period of service. This means that if an employee has not completed a full year of service, their annual leave will be calculated proportionally.
Employers have the option to carry forward up to half of an employee’s annual leave entitlement for one year, depending on the requirements of the business. However, this can only be done upon submission of a written application.
After completing three months from the start date of employment, employees in Qatar are entitled to sick leave. To avail sick leave, the employee is required to provide a medical report from a physician approved by the employer as proof of illness.
During the first two weeks of sick leave, the employee is entitled to receive their full wage, amounting to 100% of their regular pay.
For the subsequent four weeks of sick leave, the employee will be paid half of their wage, which is equivalent to 50% of their regular pay.
Any further extension of sick leave beyond the initial six weeks will be without pay, meaning the employee will not receive any salary during that period.
At the end of the 12th week of sick leave, if a physician’s medical report verifies that the employee is unable to resume work, the employer has the right to terminate the employee’s service.
It’s important to note that the specific details and conditions regarding sick leave may vary based on the employment contract, company policies and applicable laws in Qatar.
Maternity & Parental Leave
Female employees who have completed one full year of employment are entitled to a paid maternity leave of 50 days in Qatar. Out of the 50 days, up to 15 days can be taken before the birth, while a minimum of 35 days must be taken after the birth.
If additional leave beyond the 50-day period is required, it can be taken with the mutual agreement of the employer. This additional leave, however, is unpaid.
To apply for maternity leave, the employee needs to submit a leave application along with a medical certificate issued by a licensed physician, stating the estimated date of delivery.
If the female employee’s medical condition prevents her from returning to work at the end of the maternity leave, she will be considered on unpaid leave. This is conditional upon the period of absence from work not exceeding 60 consecutive days and must be supported by a medical certificate from a licensed physician.
It is prohibited to dismiss or serve notice to a woman during her maternity leave, unless it is proven that she has been employed elsewhere during this time. This regulation protects female employees during this crucial period.
There is no legally mandated paternity leave in Qatar. However, some employers may choose to provide paternity leave at their own discretion.
Nursing Care Leave
Mothers are permitted to take one hour of ‘nursing’ time every working day for one year following the birth of their child.
Employees are entitled to urgent leave but the duration of such leave should not exceed two days at a time. Additionally, the total number of urgent leave days allowed per year is capped at seven days. This provision ensures that employees have the flexibility to address pressing personal matters while maintaining a reasonable limit on the number of urgent leave days they can utilize within a year.
Religious / Pilgrimage Leave
Employees are eligible for a maximum of fifteen days of unpaid leave to perform the Al-Hajj pilgrimage. This entitlement can only be availed “one time” during their employment with the company. To be eligible, the employee must have completed at least one year of service with the employer.
The employer will determine the number of employees granted this leave each year based on work requirements. Priority for granting this leave will be given to senior employees and those who have served continuously for a longer duration. This ensures that employees who have been with the company for an extended period are given priority when it comes to granting the Al-Hajj pilgrimage leave.
Employees are entitled to a paid day off on official public holidays.
- Eid EI-Fitr: three days
- Eid Al-Adha: three days
- Independence Day: one day
- Three working days are to be specified by the employer.
If a public holiday falls on a non-working day (e.g. Friday), the employer is required to compensate its employees with an additional day of holiday.
Benefits to the Employee in Qatar
Qatar Statutory Benefits
The Qatar government ensures that local residents, including both citizens and expatriates, are provided with health insurance through the Hamad Medical Corporation.
Employers in Qatar are obligated to provide medical insurance coverage to their employees throughout the duration of their employment. This requirement ensures that employees have access to necessary medical services and support during their work tenure.
For retirement, death and disability benefits, specific provisions are based on a minimum period of insured employment of 25 years. When an employee reaches retirement age, the pensionable earnings will be determined based on the average salary earned during the last five years of their insured employment. These measures are in place to provide financial security and support to individuals in various life circumstances.
Rules Regarding Visas and Foreign Workers in Qatar
To hire non-Qatari nationals, employers are required to obtain the necessary permits from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs. These permits are granted to foreign workers based on the following conditions:
- There is no qualified Qatari worker registered with the government who can perform the job.
- The candidate has a residence permit.
- The candidate does not have a criminal record.
- The candidate passes a medical test.
The Ministry of Interior periodically restricts the issuance of work permits and residency visas for citizens of certain countries.
Public Holidays Recognized by Qatar in 2023
|1.||New Year’s Day||01.Jan.2023|
|2.||National Sports Day||14.Feb.2023|
|3.||Eid al-Fitr Holiday||21-23.Apr.2023|
|4.||Eid al-Adha Holiday||27-29.Jun.2023|