OFWs in Oman have basic labor rights that are protected by the law. These include fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to healthcare. In this article, we will discuss the basic rights of OFWs in Oman to help them understand their entitlements and protections while working in the country.
There are thousands of OFWs in Oman, working in various industries such as construction, hospitality, and healthcare.
OFWs in Oman contribute greatly to the economy of both Oman and the Philippines, through their remittances and their hard work. However, being away from home and working in a foreign country can come with its own set of challenges and issues.
It is important for OFWs in Oman to be aware of their basic rights and entitlements, to ensure that they are treated fairly and with respect by their employers and the government. Listed below are some of the basic labor rights of OFWs in the Sultanate.
Employment laws in Oman set out certain provisions that employers and employees must adhere to during the course of their employment. This guide provides an overview of some key provisions in the employment laws of Oman.
Security of Tenure
- Probationary period: The probationary period is a trial period wherein the employer assesses the suitability of the employee for the job. In Oman, an employee cannot be appointed under probation for a period exceeding three months for those receiving monthly salaries and one month for those receiving salaries otherwise.
- Termination of contract: Either party may terminate the contract during the probationary period by providing a seven-day notice. However, after the probationary period, a contract of employment may be terminated only for a justifiable reason. Termination without sufficient reason may be deemed arbitrary and can result in the employee being entitled to compensation of at least three months’ gross salary, up to an unlimited amount depending on various factors, in addition to any other entitlements otherwise owed to the employee as per their contract or law.
- Compensation for arbitrary termination: The Omani courts have been very strict against unfair terminations, and they have laid down that, in the absence of sufficient reason for termination, such termination may be deemed arbitrary. In such cases, employees may be entitled to compensation equal to a minimum of three months’ gross salary up to an unlimited amount depending on various factors, in addition to any other entitlements otherwise owing to the employee as per their contract or law. This compensation serves as a form of protection for employees against unjust and arbitrary termination.
- An employer may not appoint an employee on probation for a period that exceeds 3 months for those who receive their salaries monthly and 1 month for those who receive their salaries otherwise.
- During the probationary period, either party may terminate the contract by giving the other party at least 7 days’ notice.
- However, if the termination is deemed arbitrary and lacks sufficient reason, the employee may be entitled to compensation of at least 3 months’ gross salary, up to an unlimited amount depending on various factors, in addition to any other entitlements otherwise owing to the employee as per their contract or law.
Hours of Work
- Maximum working hours per day and week: In Oman, the maximum number of working hours per day is 9, and the maximum number of working hours per week is 48. This is based on the Labor Law, which seeks to promote decent working conditions for employees. Any work exceeding these limits shall be considered overtime work, and the employee shall be entitled to overtime pay as per the provisions of the law.
- Special provisions for Ramadan: During the holy month of Ramadan, the maximum number of working hours per day is reduced to 6, and the maximum number of working hours per week is 36. This is to ensure that employees who observe the fast have enough time for worship and rest. However, non-Muslim employees are not required to observe this provision.
- Rest periods and breaks: The Labor Law requires employers to provide employees with rest periods and breaks during working hours. There should be one or more periods during working hours for taking food and rest, and the total time for these breaks should not be less than half an hour. However, the continuous period of work should not exceed 6 hours without a break. Employers are also required to grant employees at least 24 consecutive hours of rest per week, after a maximum of 6 continuous working days.
- Employees in Oman are entitled to work for not more than 9 hours a day, and a maximum of 48 hours per workweek.
- During Ramadan, the maximum working hours are reduced to 6 hours per day or 36 hours per workweek.
- There must be one or more periods during working hours for taking food and rest, the total of which must not be less than half an hour, provided that the continuous period of work shall not exceed 6 hours.
Weekly Rest Day
An employer must grant the employee not less than 24 consecutive hours of rest per week after at most 6 continuous working days.
- Entitlement to a weekly rest day: Under Oman’s labor laws, employees are entitled to a weekly rest day, which is usually given on Friday. This means that the employee must be granted at least 24 consecutive hours of rest per week after working for six continuous days. Employers are required to provide their employees with a regular weekly rest day, but in some industries or sectors, exceptions may apply due to operational requirements.
- Maximum number of continuous working days: Employers in Oman are not allowed to make their employees work for more than six consecutive days without a weekly rest day. The maximum number of working hours per day is nine, with a maximum of 48 hours of work per week.
During Ramadan, the maximum number of working hours is reduced to six hours per day or 36 hours per week. Employers must ensure that their employees are not overworked and that they are given adequate rest and breaks.
Wage and Wage-Related Benefits
- Determination of minimum salary: In Oman, the minimum salary that an employer can pay to an employee is determined by a decision issued by the Minister of Labour. This minimum salary may differ for different professions and industries, and is reviewed periodically to ensure that it keeps up with the changing economic conditions. Employers are required to pay their employees at least the minimum salary set by the Minister, and failure to do so can result in penalties and legal action.
- Overtime pay rates: Employees who work more than the stipulated maximum working hours per day or week are entitled to overtime pay. The overtime rate for work performed during regular working hours is 25% of the employee’s basic wage, while the rate for work performed between 6 pm and 6 am is 50% of the basic wage. Employees who work on their rest day or holiday are entitled to either a substitute rest day or basic wage plus not less than 25%.
- Pay for work on rest day/holiday: Oman’s labor laws require employers to compensate their employees who work on their rest day or holiday. In addition to a substitute rest day, employees who work on these days are entitled to receive their basic wage plus not less than 25% of their wage for that day.
- End of service gratuity: At the end of their service, an employee in Oman is entitled to receive an end of service gratuity, which is calculated based on their length of service and their final basic wage. An employee who completes one year of continuous service is entitled to a gratuity equal to 15 days’ basic wage, while those who have completed more than one year are entitled to a gratuity equal to 30 days’ basic wage for each year of service. The end of service gratuity is considered a form of severance pay and is designed to help employees during the transition period between jobs.
- The minimum salary shall be determined by a decision to be issued by the Minister.
- Overtime pay is 25% of basic wage, and overtime pay between 6 pm to 6 am is 50% of basic wage.
- If an employee works on a rest day or holiday, they are entitled to either a substitute rest day or basic wage plus not less than 25%.
- End of service gratuity is paid to employees who complete at least one year of service.
- Payments of wages must be made in Omani riyal, at the place of work (or through bank transfer).
- Wages must be paid at least once a month, except for daily wage earners who are paid once every 2 weeks.
- The employee shall not be compelled to buy either foodstuff or commodities from certain stores or the employer’s products.
Employment of Women
In Oman, women are protected by several labor laws, including restrictions on night work and provisions for maternity leave.
- Prohibition of night work
Under Omani labor law, women are prohibited from working at night between 6 pm and 6 am. This is designed to protect the safety and health of women employees.
- Maternity leave entitlement
Pregnant women who have been employed for at least one year are entitled to six weeks of fully paid maternity leave. This leave may be extended for an additional 10 weeks at half pay. Employers are also required to hold the employee’s position for six months after the birth of the child.
These provisions are designed to protect the health and well-being of pregnant women and their newborn children, as well as to ensure that women are not unfairly penalized for taking time off to have children.
- Women are not allowed to work during night hours from 6 pm to 6 am.
- Pregnant women are entitled to six weeks of maternity leave with full pay, provided they have worked for the employer for at least one year.
- Annual leave entitlement
- OFWs in Oman are entitled to a minimum of 30 days of annual leave, which can be taken after 6 months of continuous service with the same employer.
- The employer has the right to determine the timing of the leave, but it must not be less than 2 weeks at a time unless the employee agrees to a shorter period.
- National holidays
- OFWs are entitled to 13 paid public holidays, as determined by the Omani government.
- Employers may provide additional holidays depending on the contract and/or company policy.
- Emergency leave
- OFWs may be granted up to 4 days of paid emergency leave for unforeseen circumstances such as illness or death in the family.
- Employers may require proof of the emergency situation before granting the leave.
- Sick leave entitlement
- OFWs are entitled to paid sick leave in the event of illness or injury.
- For the first and second week of absence, the employee is entitled to full pay. For the third and fourth week, the pay is reduced to 75% of the basic wage. For the fifth and sixth week, the pay is reduced to 50% of the basic wage. For the seventh to tenth week, the pay is reduced to 25% of the basic wage.
- Employers may require a medical certificate from a licensed physician as proof of illness.
- Pilgrimage leave entitlement
- OFWs who are Muslim and have completed 2 years of continuous service with the same employer are entitled to 15 days of paid pilgrimage leave, which can only be taken once.
- The employer may require proof of the employee’s intention to perform the pilgrimage, such as a travel itinerary or visa.
In conclusion, the basic labor rights of OFWs in Oman are designed to protect their welfare and promote a safe and healthy working environment. Employers are required by law to comply with these rights, which include leave entitlements, minimum wage, and safety standards. By understanding their rights and protections, OFWs can confidently navigate their employment in Oman and ensure they receive fair treatment and compensation for their work.
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