The latest amendments in the Omani Labour Law have received mixed reactions from business leaders.
While some feel that a five-day week would increase employee productivity, some are of the opinion that this could have a negative impact at workplaces.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, Abdul Kader Askalan, CEO, Oman Arab Bank said, “In the banking sector, employees have Friday and Saturday as their days off; the government is striving to make the private sector on par with public and banking sectors, but productivity could be affected.”
However, according to D S Ramakrishna Rao, director of Architectural Wall Systems, it was an excellent idea to implement two days off in a week. “Nobody really works on Thursdays and it becomes difficult to coordinate things with government offices,” he said.
Rao felt it was better to work an hour extra on weekdays to compensate for the two days off. “We had already implemented the two-day off system with a batch of our employees taking Thursdays off on a rotation basis. But now we would be implementing the two-day off system immediately.”
Talking about payment of salaries within seven days of the end of each payment period, Rao felt that it was a very positive step. “This is a great thing especially for blue-collar workers,” he said. However, for the payment for overtime, he said that the amount paid should do justice to the type of work one does.
Hiralal Barwani, CEO, Oman Orix Leasing Company said, “I think it is good if we are bringing international practices to Oman. It is not only the long working hours that matter, but motivation too that brings productivity in a firm.” Barwani said that initially there could be some inconvenience for companies, but there would be reduction in costs of electricity, water and other utilities.
Abdul al Maskari, general manager, Al Madina Financial and Investment Services while commenting on the amendments said, “I think this will add value to the private sector. In Al Madina we implemented the same rules four years ago and saw a turnaround in employees’ performance. We actually work more hours now than before.”
Maskari said that it was all about motivation and how to ensure the team felt that it was being taken care of. “This is a great time to implement the law. It is going to help a lot.”
Main changes in the labour law
- Two weekly off days mandatory.
- Salary payment within seven days of the end of each payment period.
- Workers to have at least 30 days paid annual leave plus six days emergency leave with full salary.
- Working hours will not be more than nine hours per day and a maximum of 45 hours a week (with at least half an hour daily break).
- Workers can put in extra hours if work hours including overtime is not more than 12 hours per day.
- Workers are eligible for an overtime allowance of at least 25 per cent of basic salary for the number of hours worked overtime.
- Women to have at least 50 days paid maternity leave (pre- and post-maternity). Such leave may be utilised up to three times during their employment.