The Wage Protection System (WPS) ensures that workers in Qatar receive their salaries through an electronic salary transfer system which allows companies and institutions to pay employees via banks that have been approved and authorized to provide the service. The system has been developed by the Qatar Central Bank. It allows the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA) to maintain a database that records wage payments in the private sector, and guarantees payments are made in full and on-time. The WPS includes all institutions and companies registered with the Ministry across all sectors and industries.
The WPS includes the monitoring of payments made to employees of over 50,000 companies in the country. In order to monitor the WPS, the Ministry has a Department of Wage Protection.
Prior to its implementation, the Labor Department fielded numerous complaints of salaries not being paid or inordinately delayed. Therefore, the government decided to protect employees by ensuring they’re paid on-time and thus encouraging a safe work environment. It was from this that the WPS was formed.
Large firms have minimum standards, and salary payments are not an issue with the majority of them. However, with smaller companies, including sub-contractors, there have been instances where these companies have abused the privilege of operating in Qatar and often ended up exploiting their workers — mainly by delaying wages or, sometimes, even not paying them at all.
The question is, has the WPS helped to alleviate this, or have loopholes been found?
Migrant-Rights.org spoke to a cross-section of workers in Qatar employed by sub-contractors on their experience with the WPS. Ravi, a restaurant employee said:
“My bank card (ATM) is with the boss. They deposit the salary on-time and withdraw with the card as well. We are paid only in cash during the second week of the month. On some occasions the salary has been delayed by a month.”
“But bank cards of employees are not with the boss all the time. He keeps some and returns others. Cards are usually taken when we go on vacation and kept for a few months even after we return,” added Ravi.
Afzal, a driver with a limousine company, said:
“Until last month, cards of some of us were with the company and salary was paid in cash. Now, they have returned the cards but we do not know if they will be taken back or not. When they keep the cards, salaries are always delayed.”
These statements send out a clear message — proper investigations need to be carried out in order to find out which companies are not abiding by the WPS.
Penalties and fines for violating companies
Failure to comply with Article 66 of the Qatar Labour Law can incur penalties. These are (i) imprisonment of up to one month, and/or (ii) a fine of QR 2,000 and QR 6,000, or any of these two penalties.
For an employer to be put behind bars, an individual would need to be joined as a party to the claim. This person is usually a general manager or an authorized signatory.
An employee who has had to forgo wages can make a claim with the Labor Court. If an employer does not transfer payments using the WPS within seven days of their due date, the Minister can suspend the issuance of new work permits to the employer and/or suspend all dealings with the Ministry. This is subject to the suspension, not including the authentication of any job contracts.
Companies need to comply with the WPS or else they will not be able to interact with the Ministry at any level for crucial work like visa change, work permits, and other services. A suspension can only be removed by the Minister or his designee, and only once an employer submits proof that unpaid salaries have been transferred and received.
What to do if your employer is not paying your salary?
The Qatar Labor Law guarantees rights and payments of labor to employees of all nationalities. Employees who are working in different companies and institutions inside Qatar can submit a labor complaint to the Work Relations Department of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor, and Social Affairs (MADLSA) in case of any dispute between them and their employers.
Additional information: You can review Law No. 3 of 2014 amending certain Provisions of the Labor Law promulgated by Law No. 14 of 2004.
[UPDATE] How to submit labor complaint to MADLSA
- SMS (24/7 multi-language) – Send an SMS to 92727. Type 5, then add your Qatar ID number or visa number and send the SMS
- MADLSA hotline 16008
- Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
How to submit labor complaint to NHRC
The mission of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) is the protection and promotion of human rights for everyone, subject to the jurisdiction of the State of Qatar (citizens, residents, and transit travelers). Those who feel their rights are violated may file a complaint to the NHRC to take necessary action.
- Fill out the online form, entering all the required information.
- Click on ‘Submit’.
- Write your complaint clearly in the online form, then submit it in person to the NHRC.
- Provide your contact information, including phone number, email, and address.
- Attach a copy of your identification card (for Qataris) and a copy of your passport or visa (for non-Qataris), attaching any related documents to support your complaint.
Service center: NHRC premises (Check Google Maps).
▪️ To raise a complaint online, fill out this form: https://www.adlsa.gov.qa/en/site/contact/complaints-and-suggestions
▪️ Download the application “Amerni” and fill out the appropriate forms.
▪️ Submit a labor complaint to MADLSA. An SMS can be sent to 92727, which is supported 24/7 in many languages. The complainant just has to type 5 then the Qatar ID number or Visa number and then send the message.
▪️ Contact MADLSA hotline number: 16008 to address your concern. You may also send an email to complain in detail if needed via email@example.com.
▪️ For raising complaints in-person, visit the MADLSA office, either in Al-Shahaniya or Industrial Area, on Sunday-Thursday from 7:30AM-12:30PM.
How do I check the status of my complaint?
▪️ Type your credentials in this page to check on your complaints’ status: https://e.adlsa.gov.qa/LaborComplaint/Default.aspx
I have other questions that were not answered here, who do I call?
Call MADLSA’s hotline 16008.
What is the Wage Protection System (WPS)?
Developed by the Qatar Central Bank, the WPS ensures that workers in Qatar receive their salaries through an electronic salary transfer system. It allows companies and institutions to pay employees via authorized banks.
It allows MADLSA to maintain a database that records wage payments in the private sector, and guarantees no delay in salary release.