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New labour laws to be balanced, flexible and employee-centric

The ministry is working to create an appropriate environment for the labor market and increase the role of other sectors is to maximize the national economy, which contributes to creating job opportunities

Staff Reporter

Muscat: The two draft labour laws, one for the civil service and another for the private sector, are currently under discussion with various government departments and the process includes taking opinions and proposals in line with the requirements of the current situation.

Salim bin Musallam al Busaidi, the Undersecretary for Human Resources at the Ministry of Labour, said that the labor law must pass through different stages, including the cabinet and the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs before a Royal Decree is issued. The time dedicated for each stage will depend based on the feedback.

He said that the Public Employment Law relates to the employees in the government sector, while the Labor Law regulates the relationship between the workers and employer in the private sector. However, there are common points between the two laws that serve all employees in both sectors.

He said that the civil service law will be balanced, flexible, and positive in favor of the employee and it consists of only 40 articles, denying that there will be an increase in working hours and the link between spouses' bonuses in government employment.

He said promotions are difficult considering the current economic conditions in the Sultanate.

Al Busaidi said that the ministry aims to provide 6,000 job opportunities in the oil, gas, and electricity sectors through on-the-job or employment-related training.

He said the training process is being funded only if it is linked to a real job opportunity and that 1,800 jobs were offered in the first quarter of the year.

He added that Oman Investment Authority seeks to replace around 9,000 expatriates employed in government companies. The percentage of Omanisation in these companies is estimated to be 76%.

Al Busaidi said the ministry is working to create an appropriate environment for the labor market and increase the role of other sectors is to maximize the national economy, which contributes to creating job opportunities. He considered that the ministry's role is not only to create job opportunities but also, act as a regulator in the labor market.

Meanwhile, Naser bin Amer bin Shwain al Hosani, Undersecretary for Labour, said the number of jobs targeted by the replacement process during this year was 12,000, and 3,000 job seekers were appointed for the first time in the private sector. “This number is more than those who have been hired in the private sector in the past five years. In addition, the number of the expatriate workforce in the sector decreased to 38.8 percent, which is a significant decrease compared to previous years.”

Al Hosani said that the ministry determines the professions that it deems necessary to be resettled and then issues decisions regarding the necessity of resettlement in those professions in both new and old appointments. "A decision is issued to provide the necessary training for citizens or job seekers. The citizen can work alongside the expatriate until the replacement process is completed." He pointed out that the ministry focuses on localizing the professions in which there are more job seekers such as information technology professions, accounting, and engineering professions in general.

He said 1,900 workers who were hired for the first time in the private sector in the first quarter for salaries RO 350 and 500 and said the wage is appropriate. He said the first job is tantamount to gaining experience and a connection point to move to a better job that matches the qualifications and experience.

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