The final phase of the Wage Protection System (WPS) – under which employers have to compulsorily transfer salaries of staff into their bank accounts – will be launched next month.

The project was launched in May this year by the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) to ensure regular and timely transfer of workers’ wages directly to their bank accounts, and enhance transparency.It covered employers with 500 or more Bahraini and expatriate workers.

The second phase launched in September included employers with 50 to 499 workers.LMRA chief executive Jamal Al Alawi said that the authority continued to work on the phased WPS implementation with 100 per cent of the targeted establishments covered in the first phase, 87pc in the second phase till date, with a compliance rate of more than 80pc.“

The third phase will be launched on January 1 for establishments with 49 or fewer employees,” he said in a statement yesterday.

A grace period of six months is given to employers who must implement the provisions of the decision, which commences at the start of each phase.In the case of domestic workers, the system is currently being applied on a voluntary basis.

The system is linked to the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) and financial and banking institutions to monitor wage transfers on set dates and ensure transparency “This further supports the settlement of labour disputes related to wages, in addition to regulating the labour market,” added Mr Al Alawi.He welcomed the fact that more than 87pc of companies joined the second phase, adding that the commitment to pay wages through the system was approximately 61pc.

“The government was been to launch the project in several stages in order to facilitate the process of joining the system and work to settle any disputes or labour issues.“The system provides the necessary support for business owners and shows sufficient flexibility to ensure the sustainability of economic growth, enhance productivity, and guarantee the rights of all parties.”

The scheme was first announced to be implemented in 2018 but the implementation was delayed to allow the concerned parties to prepare themselves.Non-payment of salaries is one of the main labour complaints being tackled by the authorities with several cases reported over the years where construction workers were not paid for months.

The GDN previously reported that Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan told parliament that 72pc of the 456,840 expats were in low-paid jobs, earning below BD200.He also stated that unemployment rates increased from 4.7pc to 5pc due to the impact of Covid-19 last year.The second edition of the National Employment Scheme (2021-2023) was launched this year and aspires to create 25,000 jobs this year and generate 10,000 training opportunities annually, with the aim of enhancing Bahrainis’ employability and making them the ideal option.

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