Pay wages through banks or face action

MUSCAT – The Ministry of Manpower has reiterated that employees in the Sultanate be paid their salaries through bank accounts.
“The authorities are tracking private firms that fail to pay workers the wages on time through banks or other financial institutions. Defaulters will face stringent legal measures,” warned a senior official at the ministry.
According to the official, companies have been advised to strictly follow the new Wage Protection System launched by the ministry in cooperation with the Central Bank of Oman.
“All companies are under the scanner of the new system which automatically alerts the ministry when firms fail to pay salaries, that too, on time,” he said.
With the new system, workers no longer need to approach the ministry with their complaints of non-payment of salaries as the system automatically sends out an alert in this regard.
“The system also helps us ensure that workers receive their wages for the exact amount agreed upon in their contracts,” the official said.
Wage Protection System is an electronic salary transfer system that companies in Oman are mandated to use for the payment of workers’ wages through banks.
The system also helps the ministry to create a database that records wage payments in the private sector to guarantee timely and full payment of agreed-upon wages.
It covers all companies registered with the ministry across all sectors and industries and will benefit different categories. Under the system, a company will have to explain why an employee is paid late or paid a reduced salary. Violators can be fined RO 100 per employee. A recent statement from the ministry said: “The new move stems from our keenness to ensure work stability in the private sector establishments. The ministry calls upon all private sector establishments to use the new unified system to transfer wages of their employees.”
However, a trade unionist alleged that owners of several companies open bank accounts for their workers and retain the ATM cards with them.
“These owners, who have companies only in the registry and allow their workers to seek jobs in the open market, transfer a certain amount to their employee account in the banks and later withdraw it by themselves,” he said.
How can the government take action against owners of these rogue companies, he asked.
Confirming the existence of such a “deal”, a salesman at a shop in Ruwi said he has a bank account and an ATM card in his name, but has never used it.
“I am paid in cash every month by the shop owner. On the other hand, I pay my sponsor a monthly fee for allowing me to work in the open market,” he said.

SAMUEL KUTTY