Doha, Qatar: The Qatar government’s measures for labour reforms are aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and show a genuine commitment to protecting workers’ rights, said the Head of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Project Office in Qatar, Max Tunon.
Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of a ‘heat stress at work sites’ campaign hosted by the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC), Tunon said, “We know that there’s a genuine commitment to protecting the rights and interests of workers. The legislation has demonstrated to go further than many other countries regarding safety and health. It’s not only about the number of prohibited working hours but also about setting limits which all work must stop regardless of the time of day or time of year.”
“The legislation is key and critical, and activities like this are essential to make sure everybody’s aware of the law and what they can do to implement it,” he added.
The Ministry of Labour announced through Decree No. 17 of 2021 a significant expansion of summertime working hours during which outdoor work is prohibited.
Commenting about heat stress and work place safety, Tunon said while being one of the top safety and health concerns in Qatar and the rest of the world, dealing with heat stress is vital to Qatar and the region.
“Qatar has progressive legislation in this space, and we know that the Ministry of Labour takes measures to inspect and enforce this legislation. But always there’s more that can be done. This type of activity which brings together community leaders and workers from different sectors is one way to spread the word,” Tunon added.
Qatar’s reforms have been recognised by major human rights groups and the United Nations (UN). The country has been touted as the leader in the region on labour reforms.
Qatar’s expeditious infrastructure development and booming economy have attracted hundreds of thousands of expatriates worldwide.
The country has implemented extensive reforms to protect workers, including introducing new laws that mean the majority of workers no longer need exit permits to leave the country; procedures allowing workers to change employment freely, without requiring a no-objection certificate (NOC) from their previous employer; a non-discriminatory minimum wage; and established Qatar Visa Centres (QVCs) in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines and Tunisia, which will expedite the recruitment process and ensure workers do not get exploited in their home countries.
The country has also established a Workers’ Support and Insurance Fund to ensure and provide care for workers, guarantee their rights and provide a healthy and safe working environment.
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