I have a couple of queries for clarification:
If an employee leaves the company after five years of service, will he get five years of full one month gratuity, or the first three years of half month plus last two years' full salary? Will an employee be entitled for gratuity only if he leaves after completing two years of service ?
Gratuity is paid @ 15 days basic salary for the first three years followed by one month basic salary for every subsequent year. Even fraction of a year will be calculated on the same basis. So, if you have five years of experience in a firm, you will be paid three and a half months basic salary as end of service benefits. To be eligible for gratuity, an employee must have at least one complete year of continuous service.
I had read in last week's column about the detention of an expatriate at the airport and about issuance of Prompt Order by the Omani courts. Is it possible to know the details of how one can have a Prompt Order issued to someone? What can one do in his defence if such an order is issued to him at the airport?
Your question was partially answered in our earlier reply referenced by you. The Prompt Orders are ex parte orders from courts and you will be able to know about such orders only when you approach the immigration point in the country to cross the border or leave the country. If you have any apprehensions about the possibility of someone having such orders issued against you, you may approach the ROP Immigration through your employer and seek clarification.
Anyone detained at the airport or border points through Prompt Orders has the right to challenge such orders through the appropriate legal forum and also claim damages or compensation.
We had applied for 19 labour clearances against cancellations (the employees had left Oman), but the application was rejected by the labour office with the noting that since the new partner of the company had been registered in 2009, a fee of OMR5 has to be paid for each employee in the company. We have 444 employees at present so we will have to pay OMR2,220. Since we were not aware of this new rule, we asked our PRO to meet the labour officer and get a written confirmation from the labour office. The labour office was not ready to give any details in writing but said they would provide payment receipt on the settlement of fees. Our PRO was informed that we should pay the fees immediately or we would not get any labour clearance and also that there may be a chance of cancellation of current clearance available with us due to non-payment of fees. This regulation would be discouraging for new foreign partners/investors if for every labour clearance an extra OMR5 is to be paid as fees. We request your advice on the issue.
It is the practice of the Ministry of Manpower to charge a nominal fees as document amendment fee whenever there is some change in the employee's data as recorded in the ministry's records.
The ministry often charges this OMR5 when a new passport is issued to the employee or the employee's salary is revised. This fee often goes unnoticed because this applies to limited individuals only.
In this particular case, you feel the heat of the fee since the amount is substantially higher. It is obvious the ministry has taken a view that some amendments were made to the Commercial Registration particulars of the company and this needs to be treated as an amendment of the employees' data.
You may appeal to the senior level officials of Ministry of Manpower for a waiver of this condition. If you are able to convince them that the structural changes in the company do not warrant any change in the employee data, your fees could be waived.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this column are for general guidance purposes only. They are based on facts presented to us and are not substituted for expert legal advice. Readers are advised to seek legal assistance for specific legal issues. Times of Oman and Khalifa Al Hinai Advocates & Legal Consultancy do not assume any responsibility towards anyone on this matter.