Muscat – Dashing hopes of many who wished Oman adopted a four-day workweek, H E Dr Mahad bin Said bin Ali Ba’owain, Minister of Labour, has clarified that there is “no intention” to do so.
Much deliberation has taken place on the four-day workweek in Oman following several countries’ trials with the same. A four-day workweek pilot in the UK was so successful that most firms say they won’t go back to the old schedule, while 15 per cent of employees who participated said “no amount of money” would convince them to return to working five days a week.
Replying to a Majlis A’Shura member’s question, when he was hosted by the shura on Monday, H E Dr Ba’owain said, “There is currently no intention to expand or increase the number of official holidays.”
The shura member had asked if the official working days would be reduced to four.
In reply to a question on raising the minimum wage to RO500 with government support, and to provide salaries to jobseekers until they are employed, the minister replied, “Various studies have been conducted on the prospect of raising the minimum wage. We carried out a study in which inflation and other factors were taken into account. It has been submitted to the Council of Ministers and we are awaiting a decision.”
The minister informed that in addition to the Draft Labour Law referred to the Council of Ministers, the Public Service Law will “soon” be approved. “Our numbers are transparent and always published, and we accept criticism, opinions and cooperation,” he said, referring to the data on jobseekers and employment.
The two-day session will discuss the minister’s statement, which will include topics of legislation and laws for both private and public sectors, the ministry’s policies and plans during the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2021- 2025), and employment in public and private sectors, besides training and rehabilitation efforts.
As many as 85,444 jobseekers were registered by end of 2022, H E Dr Ba’owain informed. “The total number of employees in the civil service sector has reached 168,985, with Omanisation rate of 88.6 per cent.”
He added that the number of employees in commercial businesses was 1,722,697 in 2022, of which 340,619 were expats.
The budget for training associated with employment in public and private sectors was RO24mn. “A total of 34,334 citizens were employed in 2022 – or 156 per cent of the target in the government and 117 per cent in the private sector.”