EMPLOYEES accused of a misdemeanour or crime against honour, trust or public morals in a workplace could be suspended for up to three months, under amendments to the 2012 Private Sector Employment Law approved unanimously by MPs during their weekly session yesterday.However, if the case is dismissed or the accused acquitted then the employer will have to reinstate the employee with immediate effect.

The proposed amendment was presented by Parliament’s financial and economic affairs committee chairwoman Zainab Abdulamir, Strategic Thinking Bloc spokesman Khalid Bu Onk and Dr Ali Al Nuaimi.Under the proposal, the case can’t be heard by the judiciary, Public Prosecution or concerned court if not filed within 60 days from the termination of employment, rather than the current 30 days.“Employers trying to get rid of someone just accuse them of wrongdoing and let them rot in jail or sit at home,” said Ms Abdulamir yesterday.“Also, there are jealous employees who want to harm their successful colleague, by seeking to tarnish his reputation,” she added.

“There have been cases when an accused employee has been found innocent by the court after two years, and all the while he was not able to work or have a steady source of income.”Ms Abdulamir said 30 days was not enough to resolve work problems.“Sixty days is what has been agreed on to file a complaint.”The Labour Ministry said its Individual Labours Dispute Settlement Unit has not received a single case with such accusations against an employee in three years.“The original article ensured that allegedly indisciplined employees are suspended until cleared and when/if cleared their due payments are made,” it said.The Bahrain Chamber backed the 60-day period for filing a claim.Bahrain’s two labour union federations backed the proposed move unconditionally.l A majority of the MPs voted in favour of proposed amendments to the 2002 Parliament Bylaws Law, presented by five MPs led by first deputy speaker Abdulnabi Salman, that would see their questions directed to ministers valid for the full four-year tenure rather than being dropped when a recess is called for each term.This means that ministers will be obliged to respond in writing and appear in Parliament for further queries at any time for the same question during Parliament’s four-year term.

Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain stated earlier that the questions were on specific topics that may change over time, deeming the queries invalid, redundant or senseless.In October 2018, the National Assembly approved constitutional amendments that widened the scope of questions with the inclusion of the Premier and Deputy Premiers within MPs’ reach, and allowing Shura Council members to direct questions and get written answers without the presence of the minister concerned.

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