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Seven firms booked in Oman for not paying wages

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Muscat: The Ministry of Labor has referred seven companies to the Public Prosecution Office for violating Article (51) of the Labor Law related to their failure to pay wages on the legally specified date.

Article 51 of the Labour Law requires employees to be paid their wages on a working day and in the case of monthly paid employees, once every month at least, or in the case of weekly or fortnightly paid employees, once every week or fortnight.

The timing of payment for employees employed on piecework depends on when the piecework is completed but generally, must be weekly for the value of any work in progress already completed and the balance within one week of final completion.

In all cases, an employer may not delay payment for more than seven days from the due date.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor took action against 18 workers violating the provisions of the Labor Law, including nine workers who left the employer.

The Ministry of Labour has warned companies that do not comply with the transfer of employees' salaries via the Wage Protection System (WPS).

The warning holds significance as a number of private sector companies continue to defer payment of employee salaries by several months despite the overall economic situation in the country getting better over the past year.

In a statement, the Ministry of Labour said that as per Article (53) of Chapter One, part four of the Omani Labour Law issued by Royal Decree No. (35/2003), "The employer will not be cleared of the employee's salary unless the amount is deposited in the employee's account at one of the locally approved banks.

A resolution by the Minister may determine the exceptions where the employee's salary may not be deposited in his account.

Any violator will be punished according to Article (116) of the same law. Whoever violates these provisions shall be punished with a fine not exceeding RO100 - and the fine shall be multiplied by the number of workers who are the subject of the violation, and no penalty shall be doubled in case of repetition of such breach.

The non-compliant companies may face suspension of their dealings with the Ministry in terms of completing permit requests or loss of the membership of best-performing firms as well as other services available in the system.

Around 13,000 of the total 24,000 labor complaints received by the ministry in 2022 were related to payment of wages, it was confirmed by the Ministry of Labour in a statement.

The Wages Protection System (WPS) is aimed at ensuring fair pay for workers and improving working conditions and enhancing the welfare of all parties involved.

WPS is an electronic tool created by the Ministry of Labour and the Central Bank to supervise and track wage payments in private sector businesses, guaranteeing their compliance with the Labour Law by transferring workers' salaries to their bank accounts.

WPS maintains a steady process of salary distribution, while also monitoring any delays in payment, allowing the Ministry to take preventive measures to ensure workers receive their pay and prevent any labor disputes, strikes, or work stoppages due to delayed payments.

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