Qatar's WPS adopted by 85% of workforce
The Wage Protection System (WPS) that was signed into law in February 2015, is being increasingly adopted by companies in Qatar
Companies in Qatar are increasingly adopting the Wage Protection System (WPS).
According to the labour ministry, nearly 40,000 companies in Qatar have adopted the new WPS in the past year.
This amounts to more than 85% – or some 1.8 million people of Qatar’s workforce which are now receiving salaries electronically, the government communications office said.
The WPS was signed into law by Qatar’s Emir in February 2015, and it came into effect in November of that year.
The system was designed to address grievances among low-income workers in Qatar about late or unpaid wages.
Nevertheless, more than 300,000 salaried employees are still waiting for the electronic wage protection system to be implemented by their companies because numerous firms have said they can’t afford to comply with the law.
With pressure exerted by government inspectors however, according to the labour ministry, these 6,700 remiss firms are expected to adopt the system shortly.
In a statement marking the one-year anniversary of WPS, Minister of Administrative Development, Labour & Social Affairs Dr Issa bin Saad Al-Jafali Al-Nuaimi pointed out that globally, there were employers who use cash-in-hand payment to exploit low-income workers.
He explained that the implementation of the WPS created transparency within the workplace and protection of the workers.
He said: “Through the implementation of the Wage Protection System, Qatar has introduced a paper trail that ensures greater transparency and greater protections for workers at risk of being cheated out of full financial compensation for their efforts.”
The labour ministry cited that so far, about 385 violations have been issued against companies that, while adopting the WPS, have nevertheless failed to pay salaries promptly.
The penalties ranged from fines of QAR2,000 (about $550) to QAR6,000 (about $1,600), and up to one month in jail.
Also of note is that labour complaints have lessened in the past several months, compared to last year.
Contractors however, have pointed out that the WPS highlights the longstanding payment crisis across the country and for the WPS to work efficiently, clients need to pay companies timeously before they can in turn pay their staff, some managers told Doha News.
Only by getting both parties to adhere to internationally certified contracts can the present system be improved, one industry leader suggested, while another businessman pressed the government to enforce stern legal consequences on clients who defer payments.