Posted on January 16, 2016

More than 60 percent of workers in the country have been covered under the Wage Protection System (WPS) and the Labour Inspection Department has conducted workshops on the WPS in which more than 320 officials from private companies have taken part, said a senior functionary from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs yesterday. The department is currently conducting a number of workshops -- targeting inspectors in collaboration with the Arab Labour Organisation, for companies to introduce WPS and the another workshop to train the employees of the WPS section at the labour ministry to monitor the WPS and facilitate implementation of the labour law and the WPS, said Khalid Abdullah Al Ghanim, Director of the Labour Inspection Department.

Following the issuance of an amended law, No 1/2015, and the Minister's decision on WPS, the department has conducted workshops for private companies (all private companies are covered under the labour law) to introduce the amendments to the provisions of the labour law. The workshops continued for two months and they were held once a week. After the enforcement of the WPS early last November, and due to some difficulties faced by some companies to apply the system created by the ministry to track WPS we found that it is important to conduct workshops for companies to introduce the system and train them on how they can create Salary Information File (SIF) and subscribe to the system of salary payments, said Al Ghanim.

The WPS is accessible for all companies through the ministry's website. Some companies are still preparing workers' payrolls according to the old system and this has become unacceptable after the enforcement of the WPS on November 2, Al Ghanim stressed. Addressing representatives of private companies at a workshop at the Labour Inspection Department yesterday, he said: "All workers' salaries must be transferred to bank accounts through the WPS and all workers must have access to their funds from anywhere, all employers must send a file, detailing salary information known as SIF to Qatar Central Bank, which will transfer transitions to the ministry for scrutiny.

He said the file includes two parts. The first includes basic information about the company and the second includes SIF, which contains three main information items; employee HR information, passport details, Qatar ID, IBANs (bank account) and works details such as the month, the number of working days, additional pay, if any, overtime, expenses, deductions and total salary paid to the employee. Ahmed Saleh Khalaf, Director, WPS section, said this is the second phase of the awareness campaign continuing for the past several months to ensure proper implementation of the labour law in general, and the WPS in particular.

The system is needed because cash payments (salaries and wages to workers) cannot be tracked and there is no proof that workers got their salaries on time. To create the SIF there are many manual trackings of HR, working hours and payrolls but once the company establishes the system, it is simple and easy to process and secure the system, he added. Due to the fact that there are a large number of companies under the labour law, "we decided to hold the workshop every Wednesday for two months. We will extend the period, if necessary".

The workshop is open to all companies and every workshop is attended by 80 participants in two groups. One is in Arabic and the other in English. Company representatives raise technical and legal questions and officials and specialists answer them, Khalaf added. In the beginning there were complaints from banks and against banks due to the big rush of companies to open accounts for their workers and this created pressure and made it difficult for banks to process all applications within a short time. But with coverage of more than 60 percent of the workers under the system, the pressure has eased and errors in the creation of SIFs have became less.

Khalaf said: "We agreed with the banks and companies that the WPS section will comply with the appointments they make to process the applications". The WPS is applicable to all companies under the labour law and information required aims to ensure that all workers are receiving their salaries on time and no expatriate worker is left without monthly income, and no illegal deductions from his wages are made, Khalaf said. When WPS inspectors track a violation, they transfer the case to labour inspectors to take action and the law stipulates strict punishments against the violators, he added.

source: The Peninsula