Posted on March 28, 2020

As labourers and workers in the country worry about their jobs and contracts due to the shut down because of coronavirus, Ministry of Administrative Development Labor&Social Affairs have released a guidelines on the health and safety of workers. It includes answers to queries such as what should a worker do if he has fever? Will workers still be paid while they are in isolation, quarantine or receiving treatment?

Below is the guidelines as published by the ministry on its social media: 

What should a worker do if he or she has a fever or other symptoms?

If a worker shows symptoms such as coughing, fever, or difficulty breathing they should stay away from others and immediately contact Qatar's COVID-19 hotline 16000. In case of emergency, the worker should request an ambulance by calling 999.

What should a worker do if he or she does not have a health card?

During the current crisis, the possession of a health card and/or QID is not necessary in order to be tested and/or receive treatment. These services are provided for free by the government.

When should a worker go into self-isolation?

A worker should go into self-isolation and call the COVID-19 hotline 16000 if he or she: 

  • Shows any symptoms of COVID-19, such as coughing, fever, or difficulty breathing 
  • Has had contact with anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19, even if at the time of contact he or she was not showing any symptoms of the disease. 
  • Has returned recently from any country that has a wide spread of the disease

For more information, please refer to the Ministry of Public Health website

When will workers be placed in isolation?

A worker can be placed in isolation by government authorities, while they await their test results, if it is believed that they may have COVID-19 (if they display any symptoms or have had contact with anyone who is infected with COVID-19)

What will happen if a worker tests positive for COVID-19?

A worker who tests positive for COVID-19 will be quarantined in centers in the Mukainis area and provided all necessary medical care, food and lodging for free.

Who is responsible for arranging the isolation or quarantine of workers in a shared residence?

A specialized medical team working under the supervision of the Supreme Committee for Crisis management under the Ministry of Public Health is responsible for arranging the treatment of workers' isolation and quarantine. The employer is not responsible for arranging the isolation or quarantine of workers.

Will workers without a valid QID be able to receive treatment if needed?

All workers will receive all necessary treatment for free, and their status is not relevant.

Will workers still be paid while they are in isolation, quarantine or receiving treatment?

All workers in isolation, quarantine or receiving treatment will still be paid their basic salary and receive their allowances irrespective of whether they are entitled to sick leave benefits.

Will workers employed in sectors that have followed government instructions to cease services still receive their basic wage and other allowances such as food and accommodation?

Yes, all workers should still receive their basic salary and allowances from their employer.

Can workers contracts be terminated due to the crisis?

Employers have the right to terminate contracts. However, the termination of employment must be carried out in full compliance with the terms of the Labour Law and the contract, including the notice period and the payment of all pending entitlements including return ticket to home country

Can workers be requested to use annual leave or take unpaid leave to cover the period they are not able to work or due to the company offering reduced services?

It is important for all to collaborate through this period to minimize the damage for the benefit of both parties, taking into account the survival of the business and employment over the longer term. Therefore, employers and workers may mutually agree that workers take unpaid leave or use their annual leave, if the business has been halted and the worker is not assigned any work. However, employers must continue to provide all other benefits, including accommodation and food.

If workers are outside of the country and unable to return how will this affect their employment status?

The employer and the worker should discuss working conditions and benefits. The worker is entitled to refuse any adjustment to the contract. In case of termination of employment, this must be carried out in full compliance with the terms of the Labour Law and the contract, including the notice period and the payment of all pending entitlements.

Will Visas and QIDs be extended automatically if they expire during this period of reduced government services?

  • To extend visas (or to check its status) follow this link on Ministry of Interior site
  • To extend QIDs (or to check its status) please use the Metrash2 app. 

Please refer to the Ministry of Interior website for up to date information

Do these same conditions apply to domestic workers employed in a home?

All of the information above applies equally to domestic workers employed in homes.

If workers have a complaint or problem about their employment or accommodation during this time what can they do?

Workers should contact the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs at 16008 or by email at info@madlsa.gov.ca

source: The Peninsula

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