Qatar has one of the richest economies in the world with a GDP per capita of $124,529. The country’s oil and gas sectors backed by rich oil reserves and world’s 3rd largest gas reserves are the major drivers of the economy, which account for more than 50% of the total revenue. Growth in financial services and manufacturing has helped the economy diversify. Qatar adopts flexible policies to encourage foreign investments including robust infrastructure, stable banking sector, competent investment laws, nominal land-lease prices in industrial areas, and duty exemption on imported machinery. The total value of imports and exports of the country is equal to 89.1% of GDP.
Currency: Qatari Riyal
Principal Language: Arabic
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Capital City: Doha
Major Cities: Al Rayyan, Umm Salal Muhammad, Al Wakrah, Al Khor
Employment contracts should be in writing, and employers must ensure that these contracts meet the minimum requirements stated in the Labor Law. The contracts should be in Arabic or in Arabic plus another language and signed by both the employer and employee. Fixed-term employment contracts must not exceed 5 years. If the parties continue to implement the contract even after its expiration, the contract is considered renewed for an indefinite period. Employees can be on a probation period not exceeding 6 months, and any probation period must be mentioned in the contract. Employers can terminate an employee’s contract with a 3 days’ notice during probation.
Work schedule cannot be more than 48 hours in a week over 6 days. Weekly work hours are reduced to 36 during the month of Ramadan. Employees are entitled to 1 day rest in a week, mostly Friday, and most companies provide a Friday-Saturday weekend. Some exceptions related to maximum work hours apply to certain types of work and shift workers.
Employees who work overtime are entitled to 25% of premium over their regular wages. Employees who work between 9 p.m. and 6 p.m. receive 50% of premium over their regular wages except shift workers. Overtime cannot exceed 2 hours in a day. Managers do not qualify for overtime pay.
Overall 10 national holidays are observed in Qatar:
- Eid Al Adha (3 days)
- Eid Al Fitr (3 days)
- Independence Day
- Three working days to be mentioned by the employer
Employees who work on a national holiday receive 250% of their regular wages and an additional day off.
Employees with at least 1 year of continuous service can take at least 3 weeks of paid vacation in a year. This period increases to 4 weeks after an employee completes 5 years’ service. Employees are also entitled to 3 days off on the dates decided by their employer, generally for periods that a company remains closed such as New Year’s Day or non-Islamic festivals.
Wages for vacation period must be paid in advance to those taking the vacation. Employers in consultation with employees decide when the leave can be taken and if the leave should be split into two periods.
Under the Labor Law, pregnant employees who have completed at least a year of employment before the beginning of the leave are entitled to 50 days’ maternity leave. They are also required to furnish a medical certificate issued by an authorized doctor specifying the expected date of delivery. Maternity leave can be taken both before and after delivery but women must plan for at least 35 weeks of leave post-delivery. In case the maternity leave available post-delivery is less than 30 days, women can use their annual or unpaid leave to bridge the gap. If an employee is unable to return to work after maternity leave is over, she can take a maximum of 60 additional sick leave.
In Qatar, there is no provision for paternity leave.
The initial two weeks’ sick leave is paid at 100% of regular wages, the next four weeks at 50%, and the rest is unpaid for a maximum of 12 weeks of sick leave in a year. Employees cannot take sick leave unless they have worked for at least 3 months with the employer. Employees can be terminated after 12 weeks if a doctor’s report shows that they are unable to return to work.
All Muslim employees are entitled to 20 days’ unpaid special leave once to undertake Hajj. Employers can decide the number of employees who can take this leave based on work requirements. The priority should be based on the service length.
Pensions and Social Security
Under the Labor Law, 60 is the retirement age for men and 55 for women who have contributed for 15 years to the social security fund. The pension benefit is paid at 5% of employees’ gross wages in the last 5 years before the retirement. The minimum monthly pension is 75% of employees’ monthly salary and the maximum is 100%. In case of early retirement, the pension is decreased by 2 to 2.5% for each year the pension is received before the legal retirement age. Employees contribute 5% of their gross salaries to the combined disability, old-age, and survivors’ fund while employers contribute 10% of gross payroll.
Employees who get injured during work are entitled to medical treatment paid by the employer and to their full wages during the treatment or for 6 months, whichever is shorter. If the treatment continues beyond 6 months, employees must receive 50% pay until their recovery or death or proof of permanent disability.
How GPS can Help
With our Global PEO/Employer of Record services, companies can expand into Qatar and hire their employees without having to establish a branch office or subsidiary in Qatar.
- Your candidate is hired via our Qatar PEO. If needed, we can also help you find the right talent in any country with our comprehensive global staffing services.
- Your new employee begins work quickly as we take care of employment contracts, statutory and non-statutory benefits, and running their payroll - all in full compliance with Qatar laws.
- Global PEO Services experts manage all day-to-day operational issues such as employee expenses, and severance/termination if required.
- With no contractor risks, pass on the compliance burden to Global PEO Services.
Spin Off/M&A Support
- Ensure continuity of payroll, benefits and HR support when acquiring or spinning off a business with employees overseas.
24/7 Support in 150+ Countries
- Empower your teams with 24/7 support and a single point-of-contact model in which experienced client services directors are in continuous communication with information and advice.
- We are backed by a mix of 300+ multidisciplinary experts from HR, Payroll, Finance, Tax, and Legal domains who are ready to respond to the expected and unexpected needs of your business on the shortest notice.
Easy Visibility into Your Employee Time & Attendance and Benefits Data
With our Global PEO, you get access to Mihi, our proprietary SaaS solution for time and attendance, vacation, leave management and benefits enrollment and management. Mihi enables clients to have easy access to employee data in real time. It is designed specifically for companies with a global workforce, especially when working in multiple countries with low headcount.
Ready for Growth When You Are
When ready, we can seamlessly transition you from the PEO/EOR model to your own legal entity and provide ongoing international HR, finance, legal, compliance and staffing support. Learn more about our end-to-end international expansion services.