Muscat: The Social Protection Law promulgated by the Royal Decree 52/2023 is seen as a landmark as it expands the social security cover to expatriate workers who will be covered for employment injury, maternity, and sickness under the same terms as national workers.
According to Mohammed al Tai, a legal counsel at decree.om, "The protections offered under the law are very wide in scope, and while Omanis are the primary target of these protections, some also apply to non-Omanis."
The Social Protection Law has replaced the current system of end-of-service grants or gratuities with the savings system that is disbursed by the employer for non-Omanis.
Details of the provisions of specified articles will be issued at a later date.
Article 138 of the law states that the employer is obligated to pay an end-of-service grant or gratuity for the period of service until the date of the implementation of the new savings system as stipulated in Clause (1) of Article (139) upon the termination of service or in provisions of the Labor Law.
Article 139 states that the funding for the savings system will be as follows:
1- The employee monthly contribution will be nine percent of the basic wage.
2- Any savings amounts paid by the employer, the insured, or others to the savings system will be as per the provisions of the regulations.3 - Gifts, bequests, and donations allocated to this system that are approved by a competent council.
4- Loans approved by the Council for the savings system after the approval of the Ministry of Finance.
The regulation shows the dates for paying the contributions stipulated in Article (139) of this law and the additional amounts that are imposed on the employer in the event of non-compliance with these dates.
The saver is entitled to the total contributions and amounts deposited in his personal account and the returns on their investment. The regulations may specify a minimum for investment returns.
Based on the request of the saver, his savings may be spent in one of the following ways, as indicated by the regulations -
in one go or annual or monthly installments, taking into account the additional returns received until the end of the savings.
The saver is entitled to his savings from the fund in any of the following cases:
1- The termination of the work relationship of the non-Omani worker, unless it is linked to another work contract within the period indicated by the regulations.
3- Payment of monthly subscriptions or deposits will be a maximum period of no less than 180 months (15 years).
4- On the death of the saver, savings are disbursed to the legal heirs, and the savings are transferred to the savings system in the event that there are no beneficiaries in accordance with the provision of this clause.
5- Permanent disability.
The savings may also be used to pay the insured’s contributions in the elderly, disability, and death insurance branch and the work injury and occupational disease insurance branch in the cases indicated by the regulations.
By a decision of the council, it is permissible to add or amend cases of entitlement in the savings system, provided that the decision indicates the basis and controls for entitlement.
In the event of leaving the savings system or losing any of the conditions of its provisions, the saver shall notify the fund of that in the manner indicated by the regulations. The regulations also indicate the administrative fines resulting from not notifying the fund.