Labour Law praised by workers and employers

Oman Wednesday 26/July/2023 21:30 PM
By: Times News Service
Labour Law praised by workers and employers

MUSCAT: Both employers and employees in the Sultanate of Oman have warmly welcomed the promulgation of the Labour Law by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik through a Royal Decree on Tuesday.

The significant move is aimed to modernise labour regulations and clearly addressed key aspects of working conditions in the country, including provisions related to leave allowances, payment structures, and contracted working hours.

According to Badr Al Hadhrami, a government employee, “The groundbreaking Labour Law is closely aligned with the principles of Oman Vision 2040 and is specifically tailored to address the needs of the labour market in the country.”

In her remarks to Times of Oman, Muna al Shehi, a working woman, said: “One of the notable provisions of the new law is the introduction of a 98-day maternity leave for women and a 15-day paternity leave for fathers. This step aims to support working parents and promote a more inclusive work environment.”

Hamyar al Ismaily, a former general manager of a leading Omani company and now chairman of a group of companies, said: “The law grants employers the authority to set productivity targets and terminate the contracts of workers who fail to meet the required performance level. This move is expected to enhance productivity and encourage employees to strive for higher levels of efficiency.

“However, in the past, we noticed that many companies did not follow the basic principles despite being a requirement. The job description of an employee is a key element. The new Labour Law states this clearly and that sets the gauge to evaluate an employee on the conditions set.”

He added: “I had raised the issues in the past during a Tanfeedh workshop but not much progress was witnessed. Overall it is a move that will be welcomed by workers and the employers.”

The Labour Law highlights the importance of promoting Omanisation – the process of prioritising national capabilities in the workforce. According to the law, non-Omani employees can have their contracts terminated if they are replaced by Omani workers, with the intention of empowering the local workforce and reducing reliance on foreign labour.

Venkatesh Palakkad, principal consultant and director of RAB Consulting, said: “I am delighted at the following provisions in the Labour Law. Firstly, making a systematic performance appraisal mandatory for organisations and secondly, providing a framework to terminate unproductive employees.”

The well-known HR professional added: “Introducing part-time employment as an official work method is a welcome move. All the above provisions coupled with the other changes introduced will surely help to manage the new generation workforce, especially millennials entering the job market efficiently.”

Palakkad wished there would be some provisions on managing redundancies.

In an effort to create an adaptable and efficient legislative framework, the Labour Law seeks to respond positively to changing dynamics in the labour market. It lays emphasis on flexibility, resilience, and the ability to address current and future challenges effectively.

A critical aspect of the law is its focus on transparency and accountability. Employers are required to disclose their annual plans for localisation and replacement of the workforce. This information, including details about the number of Omani workers, their salaries, gender representation, and job vacancies, must be made public at the workplace and on the official website of the establishment.

The new law is organised into ten sections, covering various aspects of employment regulations, contracts, and obligations between employers and workers. It defines specifics related to working hours, leave allowances, remuneration, and employment of young people, occupational health and safety, and the functioning of labour unions.

Overall, the Labour Law is a progressive step towards fostering a productive and inclusive work environment, aligning with the country’s broader vision for sustainable development.