Amendments to labour market legislation in Bahrain withdrawn

Under the amendments, expatriate workers will be allowed a trial period under a new employer

  

Proposed amendments to the 2006 Labour Market Regulatory Law were withdrawn following a lengthy discussion at the Shura Council yesterday.

Under the amendments, expatriate workers will be allowed a trial period under a new employer should they change jobs following a year’s service.

It was reviewed by the Shura Council’s services committee – which recommended its rejection but withdrew it for more study after members debated the amendments.

The GDN previously reported that the government had raised objections, insisting that expat workers should only be allowed to work under their original sponsors because official permits issued – which provide death, injury or emergency cover – cannot be transferred on a temporary basis for a trial period.

Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) had also agreed to the proposal while the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) rejected it.

“BCCI, which represents the private sector, backed the proposal, however the committee and LMRA have unfortunately rejected it based on mostly organisational issues that can be addressed through by-laws and legislation that governs the trial period,” said Shura Council member Darweesh Al Mannai.

“This proposal aims to create a fair balance between the employee and employer in the private sector which will reflect positively on the national economy.”

Meanwhile, Parliament and Shura Council Affairs Minister Ghanim Al Buainain said opinions of employees and workers weren’t taken into account in the proposal.

“With all due respect to BCCI, they represent the interests of businessmen and not workers or employees, so they are addressing this issue from a particular angle only,” he said.

“Hiring workers without a permit is illegal and during a trial period the employee is actually working therefore these amendments are in direct contradiction to other laws in place.

“There are legal repercussions that must be looked at – such as who is responsible for injuries and death that may occur during this trial period.”

The proposal was withdrawn by the services committee for further study.

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