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Qatar's labour law changes and worker's welfare : Attitudes and perceptions for a sustainable future | Qatar University

Qatar's labour law changes and worker's welfare : Attitudes and perceptions for a sustainable future

2021-04-07
Prof.Abdoulaye Diop, Manager of SESRI’s Research Department

The Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI), a social scientific survey research initiative of Qatar University, announced the results of a study on ‘Qatar’s Labour Law Changes and Worker’s Welfare,’ in a seminar hosted in the University.
SESRI was established in October 2008 with enthusiastic support from the leadership of Qatar University. SESRI's mission is to provide sound and reliable survey data and analysis to guide policy formulation, priority-setting, and evidence-based planning in the social and economic sectors.
The Institute's research agenda spans a wide range of substantive areas of importance to Qatari society, including labor and employment, modernization and shifts in social values, education, health, family structure, and the impact of social and traditional media. At the same time, SESRI works to place results from Qatar into a wider context through participation in regional and international survey projects, including the widely-utilized World Values Survey.
The Institute has assembled a highly qualified staff with diverse research interests, a wealth of professional experiences, and, above all, a shared vision and commitment to the importance of conducting high quality survey research that serves the public and society. Indeed, the core values guiding the Institute’s work are independence, public service, cooperation with existing research initiatives, and the transfer of knowledge and skills to build the capacity of the next generation of young Qatari social science researchers.

QATAR’S LABOUR LAW CHANGES AND WORKERS WELFARE: ATTITUDES & PERCEPTIONS FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

From September 22nd, 2020 to January 19th, 2021 the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) at Qatar University surveyed 2,760 individuals, including Qatari nationals, higher-income and lower-income expatriates about Qatar’s recent labour law changes. The survey is based on a nationally representative sample interviewed by telephone in nine different languages. The survey shows that both Qataris and resident expatriates have a mostly positive perception of the recent labor law changes and their impact on Qatar’s economy and the working and living conditions of expatriates. However, the findings also indicate that public awareness surrounding the new legislative reforms remains low.
Director of SESRI, Dr. Kaltham Ali Al-Ghanim says, “Our event today revolves around migrant workers, a topic which is of great importance to society and has appeared in strategies concerning the population and the workforce over the past decades. A number of workshops and seminars have been organized locally and regionally to discuss the issue of construction workers in Qatar, with the goal of developing this profession and improving their working and living conditions and framed by laws that deal with their well-being during work and their presence in the community. The country has come a long way in this area. Qatar has implemented various laws that protect migrant worker rights, including recent improvements to labour laws. Researchers at SESRI have contributed to the study and analysis of migrant worker conditions through a number of survey projects. We launch todays workshop with the aim of presenting the preliminary results of this study entitled, ‘Qatar’s Labour Law Changes and Worker’s Welfare: Attitudes and Perceptions For a Sustainable Future.’”
“This study is funded by Qatar Foundation through the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) 11th cycle. The grant was won by Prof.Abdoulaye Diop, Manager of SESRI’s Research Department, who, due to Covid-19, conducted the interviews for the survey via telephone. The presentation will discuss the main findings of the study, which is to showcase the positions and perceptions of Qataris and migrant workers on the latest changes to Qatar’s labour laws.”
The majority of Qatari nationals, higher-income and lower-income expatriates are not very familiar with Qatar’s labour law changes.
Overall, few Qatari nationals, higher-income and lower-income expatriates report being very familiar with the recent labour law changes. Considering those who said they were only somewhat familiar along with the very familiar, slightly more than half of Qatari respondents (57%) are at least somewhat familiar with the changes.
Since 2016, Qatar has been introducing changes to the Labour Law. How familiar are you with these changes? Would you say you are…

Irrespective of their levels of familiarity with the legislative changes, the majority of Qatari nationals (70%) and higher-income expatriates (74%) think that the new changes will make foreign workers less dependent on their employers. This percentage is significantly smaller among lower-income expatriates (54%). Lower-income expatriates (42%) are also most likely out of the three population subgroups to think that the changes will make foreign workers more dependent on their employers (compared to 28% of Qataris and 24% of higher-income expatriate respondents).

Do you think the new changes will make foreign workers more dependent on their employer or less dependent?

 

Qataris

Higher-income expats

Lower-income expats

More dependent on their employer

28%

24%

42%

Less dependent on their employer

70%

74%

54%

OTHER (volunteered answers)

2%

2%

4%

The majority of higher-income and lower-income expatriates think that the minimum wage should be increased from QAR 1000.
More than three-quarters of higher-income expatriates (78%) and lower-income expatriates (77%) said they think that the minimum wage should be increased from QAR 1000. Overall, Qataris are least likely to think that the minimum wage should be further increased. More than half of Qatari nationals (58%) think that the minimum wage should be kept or maintained at QAR 1000.

Currently, the minimum wage in Qatar is set at QAR 1000 per month. Should the minimum wage be increased, maintained at 1000 QAR or decreased?


The majority of Qatari nationals, higher-income and lower-income expatriates think that the labour law changes have a positive impact on Qatar’s economy, as well as the working and living conditions of expatriate residents.
All respondents were also asked about the potential impact of the labour law changes on Qatar’s economy and on the living and working condition of expatriate workers. Nearly two-thirds of Qataris (64%) and more than three-quarter of resident expatriates reported that these labour law changes made Qatar’s economy somewhat or much better. Expatriate residents were more likely to give higher positive impact ratings to the economy as compared to Qataris.
Overall, have these new Labour Law changes made Qatar’s economy….

With regard to the impact of the labour law changes on the working conditions of foreign workers, Qatari nationals (51%), higher-income expatriates (60%) and lower-income expatriates (60%) strongly agreed that changing the labour laws will improve the working conditions of foreign workers. Overall, resident expatriates (60%) were more likely to strongly agree about this positive impact of labour law changes in comparison to Qatari nationals (51%).

Still thinking about the recent labour law reforms in Qatar, how much would you agree or disagree that changing the labour laws improves the working conditions of foreign workers in Qatar?

With regard to the future impact of the labour law changes on the working conditions of foreign workers, resident expatriates were more likely to strongly agree that these changes will make their lives much better (50% for lower-income expatriates & 52% for higher-income expatriates) as compared to Qatari nationals (38%).
In the future, do you think these new Labour Law changes will make your life …?

Almost two-thirds of respondents reported that their business or place of work was subject to the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (ADLSA) inspection.
The Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (ADLSA) sends inspectors to businesses to verify the implementation of workers’ contracts, including issues such as working hours, salary payment, and annual leave. Almost two-thirds (62%) of respondents reported that their business or place of work was subject to an inspection.

Has your business or place of work ever been subject to a labor inspection?

Based on the results, respondents who reported that their business or place of work had received an ADLSA inspection were more likely to abide by Qatar’s Wage Protection System (WPS). Namely, a higher proportion of these respondents reported paying their employees through direct bank transfer (92%), as compared to those who stated that their business or place of work did not receive an ADLSA inspection (80%).
Recommendations:
Based on these preliminary results, the research team recommends:
• Awareness campaigns for Qatari nationals, expatriates, and business owners about Qatar’s recent labour law changes
• An increase in the inspection of businesses for effective implementation of the labour law reforms
• A follow up on the impact of the minimum wage on businesses and employees

SESRI conducted this survey with 2,760 respondents including Qatari nationals (857) and resident higher-income (1,012) and lower-income expatriates (891) aged 18 years and older. A monthly salary of QAR 4,000 is used as a cut-off to screen between lower-income (less than QAR 4,000) and higher-income expatriate (QAR 4,000 or more). The survey was fielded between September 22nd, 2020 to January 19th, 2021, with a response rate of 43.4 percent and a maximum sampling error of +/- 2.5 percentage points. The calculation of this sampling error takes into account the design effects. The final dataset was weighted to adjust for probability of selection and non-response. SESRI thanks everyone who participated to ensure that public opinion would be fairly represented.

Related Files
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