How To Hire And Pay Employees In Qatar

Emerald Technology's guide to hiring employees in Qatar.

CURRENCY

Qatari Riyal is the official currency of Qatar Its currency symbol is ر.ق, QAR.

CAPITAL CITY

Doha is the capital and most populous city of the State of Qatar. The city is located on the coast of the Persian Gulf.

LANGUAGE

Arabic is the official language of Qatar, with Qatari Arabic or Gulf Arabic the local dialect. 

POPULATION The current population of Qatar is 2.931 Million 2021 based on World bank numbers.
PAYROLL FREQUENCY

The payroll frequency is typically monthly. The employer must make salary payments at least once a month. 

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS Qatar haspublic holidays lasting 10 days.

GROW YOUR TEAM IN QATAR

NO ENTITY, NO PROBLEM

To start growing your team in Qatar, you must establish a local entity- including an account with a local bank, a local office and an address registered as a subsidiary. This allows you to manage payroll, tax, benefits and compliance for your employees, but can take several months. 

Emerald can hire and payroll your workers, quickly and compliantly with their ready to go entity. Make growing your team simple with Emerald as a global partner.

PROS AND CONS OF HIRING IN QATAR

Being on the top 10 of the wealthiest countries in the world, Qatar has a growing economy driven by the petrol-based industry. The low tax regime and good levels of English proficiency can be a compelling option for expanding into the Middle East region. 

Due to 90% of the Qatari workforce being foreign citizens, Qatari nationals are given priority over foreign workers when applying for a job. If a company still wants to hire a foreign individual over a Qatari citizen, the government approval is mandatory. While all labor-related documentation might be written in English, employers need to draft all documentation in Arabic, so it gets recognized by the Ministry of Labor. 

Take into consideration that administrative processes can take a long time. A big investment is needed to start business in the country and the recurrent annual costs can be substantial. Pairing up with an already established partner can be beneficial. 

Employee costs in Qatar are expected to be 10% of their salary. 

WHY QATAR IS GOOD FOR REMOTE WORKERS

Remote working is growing in Qatar since the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. A big part of the Qatari public sector is working remotely. Both remote and in-office workers have the same benefits – wages, accommodation, food provisioning and/or allowance payments should remain the same. 

The expatriate community in Qatar is growing mainly due to higher salaries, lower tax regimes and a good work life balance. Fast internet access is available everywhere in the country with an almost 100% 5G network coverage. 

There are specific rules for foreign/Qatari individuals. Generally, income tax to employees is not applicable. Individuals might be subject to income tax if their work has generated qualifying Qatar-source income.

START GROWING YOUR REMOTE WORKFORCE NOW

WORKING TIME AND OVERTIME IN QATAR

The working week in Qatar is typically 48 hours (eight hours per day, six days per week). The working day may decrease to six hours per day during Ramadan. Fridays are usually considered a rest day. Where an employee is requested to work overtime or work on holidays, there are maximums in the number of hours allowed and all overtime in excess of the standard working week is paid at a compensatory rate (typically 125% of average salary rate for daytime hours and 150% for hours performed at night).

ANNUAL LEAVE AND QATAR'S PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

In Qatar, the annual leave entitlement is dependent on the employee’s length of service, as follows:

  • Under 1 year's service: a percentage of annual leave determined by the employer
  • 1-5 years' service: 3 weeks' annual leave
  • 5+ years' service: 4 weeks' annual leave
Employees can take annual leave in a maximum of two different periods. Any untaken leave can be carried over to the next vacation year, subject to the employer’s agreement. 

Qatar has 10 public holidays.

January 1st: New Year's Day 
February 8th: National Sports Day 
March 6th: March Bank Holiday 
May 3rd: Eid al-Fitr
May 4th- 5th: Eid Al-Fitr holiday 
July 10th: Eid al-Adha
July 11th-12th: Eid-al-Adha holiday 
December 18th: National Day 

PROBATION PERIOD IN QATAR

Probation periods in Qatar cannot be longer than six months.

RESIGNATION AND DISMISSAL IN QATAR

A termination notice is mandatory to initiate the process of dismissal from either side. Notice periods are dependent on an employee’s length of service:

  • 1-5  years' service: 1 month's notice
  • 5+ years' service: 2 months' notice

Upon completion of one year of continuous service with the employer, each employee is entitled to a severance payment upon termination based on an employee’s final salary and at least three weeks of the employee’s final basic salary for every year of service.

RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS

It is permissible to have restrictive covenants contained in the contract of employment to the extent necessary to protect the legitimate interests of the employer, provided the nature of the employees’ work allowed them to know the company's clients and/or confidential information about the business. The covenants must be restricted in relation to duration (which must not exceed one year) and the nature of the business to be protected. Non-compete clauses and customer non-solicit clauses typically last no longer than 6-12 months. Employee non-solicits are also permissible.

READY TO HIRE YOUR EMPLOYEES IN QATAR?

CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT IN QATAR

In Qatar, employers should provide foreign workers with a contract of employment (Service Contract), or an official letter of agreement which specifies the conditions of employment. According to Qatari law, it is not mandated that an employment contract between an employee and an employer must be in writing, where verbal agreement is possible, although written agreement is preferred.

Employment contracts may be written in English, although it is the Arabic version that will be officially recognised by the Qatar Ministry of Labor. It is recommended to have any employment documents attested to by a notary, although it is not compulsory.

The employment contract takes precedence over local labour laws due to greater stipulations and terms, although there are laws that provide certain protection regardless of the existence of a contract. The duration of an employment contract is typically open-ended, moving from a traditional two-year contract to one that extends indefinitely until the assigned work is done or until either party wishes to terminate the contract.

QATAR'S MATERNITY LEAVE

Expectant mothers are entitled to 50 days’ paid maternity leave in Qatar, of which no less than 35 must be taken following the child’s birth. In the case of a complicated birth, an employee can extend her maternity leave by an additional 60 days (unpaid) on production of a medical certificate. To be eligible for the maternity entitlement, an employee must have worked for their employer for a minimum of one year.

There is no legal requirement for an employer to provide paternity leave to their employees. However, it is typical for an employer to offer five days leave to fathers following the birth of a child.

SICKNESS LEAVE IN QATAR

On completion of three months’ continuous service, employees are entitled to two weeks of paid sick leave, compensated at 100% of salary. After the initial 14 days of sickness, an employee can receive another four weeks’ paid leave at the rate of 50% of salary. Any sick leave beyond this is unpaid.

SOCIAL SECURITY

Employers are required to contribute 10% to the Qatar Labour Law / QFC Employment Regulation Monthly Contribution.

HEALTHCARE AND INSURANCE

Employers, at their expense, are required to enrol non-Qatari employees and their family members into health insurance policies offered by insurance companies registered with the Ministry of Public Health in Qatar. They must be able to provide proof of such insurance coverage upon renewal of their employees' residency.

Failure to maintain continuous and valid insurance coverage will result in employers being required to recompense the costs of healthcare services of the beneficiaries to the Insurance Law, and they are not entitled to recover such costs.

Employment of

FOREIGN NATIONALS IN QATAR

Due to Qatarisation, a Qatar-based employer who wishes to hire an employee from abroad must first obtain permission from the government. For a foreigner (non-Qatari or GCC national) to legally work and reside in Qatar, they must have a residence visa and work permit under the sponsorship of their employer (which must have an entity established in Qatar).
Salary Taxes

MINIMUM WAGE IN QATAR

The monthly minimum wage in Qatar is 1,000 QAR. Employers must also pay allowances of at least 300 QAR for food and 500 QAR for housing if they do not supply employees with these directly.

QATAR'S INCOME TAX

There is no tax on personal income in Qatar.

SALARY PAYMENTS IN QATAR

The payroll frequency is typically monthly. The employer must make salary payments at least once a month. Employers may issue bonuses at their discretion.

SOCIAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTIONS IN QATAR

Employees are required to contribute 5% to the Qatar Labour Law Monthly contribution, or a 5-8% contribution towards the QFC Employment Regulation Monthly Contribution, in addition to the 10% employer contribution.

WORKER MISCLASSIFICATION IN QATAR

Similar to other countries, Qatar has strict rules on classifying individual contractors and full-time employees differently. Misclassifying your workers can put your business at risk of fines.

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