Labor protection laws
Article (12) of the Basic Law states: “The State enacts Laws for the protection of the employee and the employer and regulates the relationship between them. Every citizen has the right to pursue the profession he chooses within the limits of the Law. It is not permitted to impose any compulsory work on anybody except by virtue of a law and only for rendering a public service and in return for a fair remuneration.” The Labor Law is a translation of what this article includes of provisions that protect employee’s rights.
The law of labor protection envisages the establishment of a number of independent legal entities such as:
- A specialized new labor court to be set up by royal decree.
- An independent commission for dispute resolution to mediate labor disputes, including union disputes, with the power to refer cases to either arbitration or to the labor court.
- A high-level social dialogue committee to propose and comment upon draft laws impacting economic policy and to which Omanisation committees for different sectors of the economy would report.
The Ministry of Manpower, moreover, has taken the decision to regulate part-time work for Omanis. As
- The number of working hours does not exceed 4 per day.
- The wage per hour is not less than OR 3.
- The part-time employee is a job seeker.
- Part-time employees aged 16 work only between 6am and 6pm.
- The ratio of part-time workers is not more than ten per cent of the Omanisation ratio.
Additionally, the Labor Law states that each employer should provide accommodation for his workers, together with transportation in case the work requires that. Also, the establishment is responsible for medical coverage, sending the worker back to his country, and paying him/her service benefit. It is expected, however, that the new Labor Law will strengthen legal protection for union members, as well as issuing provisions related to allocating a feeding hour daily, a nursery in the workplace, and a leave up to 60 days. Issuance of such laws will help provide appropriate work environment in private sector, ensure the stability of the national personnel and thus promoting Omanisation. Moreover, salaries and allowances in the private sector differ according to the type, size, field of work, qualifications of the worker, his/her experience, and his/her occupation, etc.
Rights for the employer:
Rights for the employee
There are two different types of employee rights – statutory rights, and the rights set out in your contract. Understanding your employment rights, and knowing if they are being breached, is the best way to ensure that you are being treated fairly at work. These rights include (not limited to) the following:
- Your rights at work: the basics of employment law, explaining how employment rights function, as well as the different types of workers and how their rights can vary depending on job type.
- Health and safety: what your employer has to do to ensure a safe and healthy workplace, and the responsibilities of you and your colleagues.
- Leaves: including when you are entitled to holiday paid leave and sick leave, as well as advice on maternity and paternity leaves.
It is important to mention that the employers should employ Omani employees on the largest possible scale. The required percentage of Omanisation should be made by a decision from Manpower Minister in each of the economic activities sectors. In fact, a fine is imposed on employers who are not committed to the Omanisation percentage of 50% from the total average of the non-Omani employees who represent the difference between the Omanisation percentage which the employer should be committed to and the Omanisation percentage which is actually realized.
A dispute's Settlement Department is allocated to help employers and employees refer cases to either arbitration or to the labor court. Its tasks include:
- Receiving and listing Labor complaints (individual and collective).
- Receiving notifications of strikes and closures and immediately interfering to solve them.
- Revising collective Labor agreements, to ensure that they don’t violate the applicable law or the general system and listing them in a register.
- Following up the implementation of collective Labor agreements and cordial settlements.
The Omani Law of Arbitration in Civil and Commercial Disputes was issued by the Royal Decree No 79/47 to settle disputes arising from economic activity such as those related to “supply of goods or services or commercial agencies, construction contracts, contracts relating to engineering or technical expertise, grant of industrial and tourism licenses, etc., transfer of technology, investment, development contracts, bank operations, insurance, transport, exploration and extraction of natural wealth, power supply, laying of gas and petroleum pipe lines, building of roads and tunnels, reclamation of agricultural lands, environmental protection and establishment of nuclear reactors.”, Art 2.
The trade union is an organization which comprises of a number of workers in a specific establishment, sector, or activity. It consists of:
- General assembly: it comprises of the establishment’s workers who have applied for the membership of the trade union and paid the prescribed fees.
- Administrative body: An elected body in the trade union which administers its affairs, runs its daily work and implements decisions of the general assembly.
Wage Protection System
WPS is a national electronic platform implemented jointly by the Ministry of Manpower and Central Bank of Oman which requires employers to pay all staff salaries through authorized financial service providers in the Sultanate in accordance with article 53 of the Oman labor law. The primary objective of WPS is to ensure that workers are paid on time and in accordance with contract in order to avoid disputes. The system is particularly beneficial to low-salaried and uneducated employees who are vulnerable to exploitation by employers. A further advantage of the WPS will be the availability of a real-time database on the labor force which can be used for a number of purposes such as to monitor private sector companies’ compliance with labor-related policy such as Omanisation policy and to identify the employment of illegal workers. For more info, please click here.