New gratuity rules fair and clear, say expat workers in Oman

Oman Monday 08/March/2021 20:30 PM
By: Times News Service
New gratuity rules fair and clear, say expat workers in Oman
Ministerial Decision No. 35/2021 makes modifications to the Oman's Civil Service Law. File photo used for illustrative purposes only

Muscat: Rulings over gratuity payments to expatriates working in Oman’s public sector have been welcomed by them, owing to the fairness and clarity these changes provide.

The changes apply to expatriates who have served less than 10 years in government offices, and became official under Ministerial Decision No. 35/2021, which makes modifications to the country’s Civil Service Law.

The decision was passed by Dr Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba’owain, the country’s Minister of Labour.

“When expat workers in the public sector do leave service, the new rules will make sure they are adequately compensated,” said Sudip Kumar, an Indian expatriate in the country. “I think the new changes make the compensation policy very fair to expatriates working in the government sector.”

“When an expat comes to work in a foreign country, irrespective of where they work, they bring with them certain skills that are vital, and will help develop local conditions along with the native workforce,” he added. “It is good to see them receive fair compensation.”

This was an opinion shared by Mark Wilson, another foreign worker in the country, who called it good thinking on the part of the government.

“Whenever we join any organisation, whether in the private or public sector, there are certain aspirations with which we come to work every day,” he said. “One of the most important among them is that employees are properly taken care of, and that is what is being done here.”

Praising the fairness and openness of the gratuity scheme under the updated Civil Service Law, Cyril Alfonso, a Filipino national, said, “With these new rules, there can be no ambiguity over how much compensation a person is due on leaving a government company, or the reasons behind which he has been provided a certain amount.

“The changes to the Civil Service Law make gratuity payment policies absolutely clear,” he added. “Clear workplace practices make working in the office easier.”

The updated regulations state that expatriates in the public sector are paid one month’s gratuity for every year served in that organisation. Up to 10 months’ salary can be paid as gratuity for workers from grades one to six, and up to 12 months for those employed between grades seven and 14.

The total value of compensation, however, cannot exceed OMR12,000. Employees, who have been dismissed as punishment for actions they have committed, or owing to criminal activity, are not eligible for gratuity. Gratuity under this scheme will also be only provided to those who have worked for more than five years, unless they have been dismissed due to ill health, or have unfortunately died while still under employment to the company in question.

As of January 2021, there were 41,866 expatriate workers employed in the country’s government sector, a slight drop compared to December 2020, when there were 42,240 employees, according to data from the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI).

The majority of expatriate workers in the country have jobs in the private sector. Expat employment numbers rose slightly from 1,148,207 at the end of December last year, to 1,148,871 in January 2021. Some 249,171 expatriates are employed by families, around 3,500 fewer than there were last December.