Denied gratuity, nurses in Oman wait for response from their embassies

Oman Monday 05/September/2016 22:04 PM
By: Times News Service
Denied gratuity, nurses in Oman wait for response from their embassies

Muscat: A number of expatriate medical staff in Oman who have alleged that their severance packages have been cut or withheld are waiting for their embassy’s response to resolve their issues.
A senior official from the Philippine embassy said that they have forwarded the nurses claim to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Oman and the embassy will be meeting the nurses on coming Wednesday.
“We had received a letter from at least 40 nurses. The Philippines ambassador to Oman has forwarded the same to MoFA. We are waiting for their response. Meanwhile, we will be meeting the nurses too,” Nasser Mustafa, labour attaché at the Philippines Embassy in Oman, told the Times of Oman.
A few weeks ago, hundreds of Indian paramedical staff and medics had approached the Indian embassy with the same claim.
Read also / Gratuity row: Medics visit Indian embassy in Oman
According to the expat medical staff, a majority of them, who have joined services in Oman between 1985 and 1994 are being reportedly denied full service gratuity.
12-year gratuity payment
They have been told to take 12-year gratuity payment, even though they have worked for more than 25 years in Oman. This has left many in the lurch as banking on the eventual payment of gratuity money they had many plans, including paying off loans.
Talking to the Times of Oman earlier, Indra Mani Pandey, India’s ambassador to Oman, said: “The embassy has been working in close cooperation with the concerned authorities in Oman to address the grievances of Indian professionals and workers brought to the attention of the embassy.”
Many, who took loans from local banks hoping to get full service gratuity to meet family needs, are now struggling to repay them as banks have issued notices.
Meanwhile, speaking on the condition of anonymity, a nurse said she was denied full service gratuity initially but later found her name on the list of full entitlement.
“I was denied full service gratuity. I had 25 years of service, but was only given 12 years gratuity. I filed a case. However, after pursuing the matter further with the ministry, I found that I had signed a document, which enables me to be eligible for full service gratuity. Now, I have approached legal advisors on this issue too,” she added.
According to medical staff, up until June 2016, everyone who was told to retire or retired voluntarily was supposed to receive full service benefits.
However, the nurses claimed that those who were told to leave after June are not getting full service benefits in line with their years spent in service.
“In 1994, a government decision promised everyone full service benefits. Some of the hospital nurses had gotten it signed, but unfortunately many did not,” a nurse added.
Expat doctors who talked to the Times of Oman said they are confused as to what gratuity they will get. “Some are getting full and some are not. It is a worrisome situation. Many have had to leave with slashed gratuity,” one medic said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has declined to comment on the issue. Recently, the Times of Oman had reported that private sector employers are forcing expat to give up their end-of-service payments for to get a No Objection Certificate.