Official labour laws for the State of Qatar can be found on the Ministry of Labour's web site. This document is in Arabic (first half) and English (second half). As of this writing, the most current labour laws in Qatar were issued in 2011.
You must be 16 to work in Qatar. Probationary periods in Qatar may not last more than 6 months.
Officially, working hours in Qatar are Sunday through Thursday, and work commences at 7:30 am and ends at 3:30 pm, with a half an hour lunch break. The weekend in Qatar is Friday and Saturday. Generally, working times in Doha are not negotiable for entry-level positions.
The maximum working week in Qatar is 48 hours (8 hours per day, 6 day week).
During the Holy Month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 36 hours a week with working hours of six hours per day including a one-hour break. Also note that cafes and restaurants are often closed from sunrise to sunset. Most grocery stores, large malls and shops do remain open.
For more information about working in a country that observes Ramadan, refer to our article "Respecting Ramadan as an Expat or Traveler".
Qatar does not have a minimum wage. Certain minimum pay regulations do apply to workers of various nationalities, for example, Filipino and Nepali migrants.
In theory Qatar wages are paid monthly or bi-weekly. However, in practice it is not uncommon that wages are not paid on a strict schedule or are paid late.
The average salary in Qatar is around 7,800 QR, but varies widely by industry and position.
Generally, expats can make very good money in Qatar. The average salary in Doha is 144, 418 QR. According to the Qatar Statistics Authority, the average salary for the following positions is (data 2014):
Employment offers in Qatar have to be formalized in an official contract, which should be attested by the Ministry of Labour as part of your work residence permit process. Your contract may include:
In practice, although a contract may exist, it may be difficult to obtain a copy of your contract from your employer. Be persistent!
As a primarily Muslim nation, working in Qatar requires conservative dress. While female Western employees are not usually expected to dress in the abaya (full length black gown), modesty is expected. Dress neatly and conservatively and consult with your company's HR department with questions. Generally this consists of dresses/ trousers/skirts below the knee, blouses with a modest neckline and no less than half sleeves.
If you are employed under a contract with an indefinite end date, the employer or employee may terminate the contract without providing a reason for the termination at any time. For employees who receive monthly wages and have been employed for 5 years or less, the employer must provide at least one month's notice of termination. If the employee has been employed for more than 5 years, than the employer must provide at least 2 months' notice of termination. In all other cases, the employer must provide 1 weeks' notice to employees employed for less than 1 year, 2 weeks for employees employed for 2 to 5 years, and 1 month to employees employed over 5 years.
Under Qatari law, in the event of the termination of an employment contract the employer must fulfill all of the employee's contractual rights within one day. If the employee quits his/her position, this period is extended to one week.
At the termination of an employment contract the employer must return the employee (at the employer's cost) to the place where he/she recruited the employee from, or to any other place agreed between the two parties. In other words, your employer would pay for your return ticket home. This must be done within 2 weeks of the termination of the contract.
Each worker in Qatar is entitled to at least one paid day's leave per week. Under Qatari law, the maximum time an employee may work continuously is 5 hours, after which he/she is entitled to a break.
A worker who has been with his/her current employer for less than 5 years is entitled to 3 weeks paid holiday per year. A worker who has been with his/her current employer for more than 5 years is entitled to 4 weeks paid holiday per year. This right to leave may not be waived.
Muslim workers are also entitled to leave without pay, not exceeding twenty days, to fulfill his/her obligation to go on pilgrimage once during their employment period.
Most of these holidays are based on the Muslim Lunar Calendar and the dates of some holidays change every year.
Public holidays in Qatar include:
On these holidays, banks, government offices, schools and private companies may be closed. Where indicated, employees are entitled to leave with pay. Employees are also entitled to leave with pay for three additional days, which are up to the discretion of their employer.
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