Muscat – The Royal Decree on the Labour Law issued by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik seeks to align Oman’s labour market with Oman Vision 2040. The legislation aims to foster a dynamic, resilient work environment capable of adapting to current and future challenges.
The new law prioritises the development of national capabilities, preparing citizens to spearhead institutional growth in the private sector. It asserts employment as an inherent right for Omanis, defining clear conditions under which non-Omanis may work within the sultanate.
The law stipulates that businesses must disclose their annual plan for localisation and workforce replacement, detailing the number of Omani workers, their salaries, gender and potential job vacancies. Additionally, it mandates businesses to create and implement plans for the appointment and training of Omanis for leadership roles, as well as strategies to retain them.
Formulated through a nationwide initiative involving various stakeholders and specialised entities, the Labour Law paves the way for a Joint Dialogue Committee. This body will assess proposals to regulate the labour market, promote relationships between stakeholders and ensure harmony between the interests of workers and employers.
The legislation, divided into ten sections, comprehensively covers employment regulations, contracts and mutual obligations between employers and workers. It outlines specifics relating to working hours, leave allowance, remuneration, employment of young individuals, occupational health and safety, and labour unions. It also delves into the settlement of labour disputes and corresponding punitive measures.
The law extends several benefits to working women, including an hour each day for childcare, 98-day maternity leave, and the provision to take up to a year of unpaid leave for childcare. Establishments with more than 25 female workers are required to provide a designated rest area.
For employers, the law allows sector-specific work regulations, temporary employment of workers for another employer with the Ministry of Labour’s approval, and termination of contracts if workers fail to meet productivity standards.
This is permitted after notifying workers about the areas of deficiency and providing them with an adequate period of no less than six months to rectify it. This clause, when implemented, can boost productivity within the establishment and promote competition among workers.
It also simplifies the Omanisation process by enabling termination of non-Omani employees when an Omani worker can replace them. To maintain operational continuity and prevent work stoppage due to strikes, the law requires workers to inform the settlement committee to initiate dispute resolution swiftly.
The new law includes fresh leave provisions aimed at enhancing worker productivity and performance, such as a seven-day paternity leave and a 15-day caregiver leave. Sick leave days has been increased to 182 (with conditions), and maternity leave duration extended.
The law underwent several stages of consultation and revision, involving 125 participants from various sectors, before being enacted by a Royal Decree.
‘Law adapts to changes in the market’
Dr Mahad Said Ba’owain, Minister of Labour, has stated that the Labour Law will facilitate coping with changes and developments in the labour market.
Promulgation of the law confirms the Royal keenness of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to elevate Oman to higher levels of organisational efficiency, he added.
The minister pointed out that the law is important for protection of rights and realising aspirations.
He affirmed that enactment of the law prioritises the interest of both the worker and the employer alike for the public interest represented in consolidating legislations that strike a balance within the labour market and cement firm grounds for a renewed Oman.