Muscat: The new labor law issued in July clearly specifies the importance of the work contract, obligations of the employer and the worker, and conditions for termination in Chapter 3.
Article (33) states that the work contract must be established in writing, and written in Arabic in two copies, for each party a copy. his rights by all means of proof and the contract must be approved by the competent authority.
Article (34) states that any employment contract may be concluded for a specified period or for an indefinite period. If its duration is specified, it must not exceed five years, renewable by agreement of the two parties. In the event of renewal of the contract, the new period or period shall be considered an extension of the original period and shall be added to it in calculating the total period of service of the worker.
An employment contract is considered indefinite in the following cases:
1- If the contract was concluded without specifying its duration.
2- If the contract was concluded for a period of more than five years.
3- If the duration of the original and renewed contract exceeds five years.
4- If the contract was not written, or if it was a written contract with a fixed term, and its term expired, and despite that, the two parties continued to implement it without a written agreement between them.
5- If the work contract was concluded for the completion of a specific work that took a period of more than five years.
6- If the work contract concluded for the completion of a specific work is renewed, and the period of completion of the original work and the works for which the contract was renewed exceeds five years.
7- If the work contract concluded for the completion of a specific work expires and its two parties continue to implement it after the completion of this work without an explicit agreement to renew it.
The employment contract must include the following data:
1- The name of the employer, the establishment, and the address of the place of work.
2- The worker’s name, date of birth, qualification, occupation, place of residence, and nationality.
3- The type of work, its conditions, and the duration of the contract, if it is for a definite period.
4- The basic wage and any bonuses, allowances, advantages, or rewards that the worker is entitled to under the applicable conditions of service and the date of payment of the agreed wage.
5- The appropriate period of notice that must be given to any of the parties to the contract who wish not to renew it, provided that the notice period granted by the employer to the worker is not less than one month.
6- Commitment to respect religions and religious beliefs, and the laws, customs, and traditions of the Sultanate of Oman, and not to interfere in activities that harm the security of the Sultanate of Oman.
The worker’s probationary period, if any, shall be specified in the employment contract, provided that it does not exceed three months for those who are paid monthly, and for a period not exceeding two months for those who are paid otherwise.
The worker may not be placed under probation more than once with the same employer, and the probationary period, if the worker successfully passes it, shall be included in his service period.
Either party to the contract may terminate it during the probationary period if it is proven inappropriate to continue working, after notifying the other party of at least seven days.
The two parties to the work contract - with regard to the work contract for an indefinite period - may terminate it at any time subsequent to the conclusion of the contract based on a legitimate reason by virtue of a notification addressed to the other party in writing 30 days prior to the date of termination with regard to workers appointed for a monthly wage, and 15 days for others, unless agreed upon in the contract for a longer period.
If the contract is terminated without observing the notice period, the party terminating the contract shall pay to the other party equal compensation for the notice period or the remaining part thereof, calculated on the basis of the last comprehensive wage that the worker was receiving.
The notice issued by the employer to the worker to terminate the contract if he is on leave shall only take effect from the day following the end of the leave.
In all cases, the employer is obligated to allow the worker, during the notice period, to be absent from work at the rate of ten paid hours per week to search for a new job.
Article (40) Termination
The employer may dismiss the worker without prior notification, and without an end-of-service gratuity, in any of the following cases:
1- If he impersonates an incorrect person, or resorts to forgery to obtain a job.
2- If he commits a mistake that results in a huge material loss for the employer, provided that the latter informs the competent authority of the incident within 30 working days from the date of his knowledge of its occurrence.
3- If he does not observe the written instructions that must be followed for the safety of the workers and the workplace, despite being warned in writing, and violating them would cause serious damage to the workplace or the workers.
4- If he is absent without an acceptable excuse from his work for more than seven consecutive days, or ten separate days during one year, provided that the dismissal is preceded by a written warning from the employer to the worker after his absence five days in the second case.
5- If he discloses the secrets of the establishment in which he works in a manner other than what is authorized by law.
6- If he has been finally convicted of a felony or crime involving breach of honor or trust, or a misdemeanor committed in the workplace or during work.
7- If he is found drunk during working hours, under the influence of a narcotic or psychotropic substance, or if he commits an act against public morals.
8- If, during or as a result of work, he assaults the employer or his representative, or if he assaults one of his superiors, or if he assaults one of the workers at the work site, which results in illness and unemployment.
9- If the worker seriously breaches his obligation to perform the work agreed upon in the work contract.
The worker may leave the work without adhering to the notice period stipulated in Article (38) of this law, or before the end of the contract period if it is for a limited period while retaining all his rights, including the end-of-service gratuity, and without prejudice to his right to compensation, after notifying the employer of that. In any of the following cases:
1- If the employer or his representative commits fraud during the contract with the worker.
2- If the employer does not grant the worker his wages for more than two consecutive months, or does not fulfill his essential obligations in accordance with the provisions of this law and the work contract.
3- If the employer or his representative commits an act against public morals towards the worker.
4- If during or as a result of work, the worker is assaulted by the employer, his representative, or his boss.
5- If there is a serious danger that threatens the safety or health of the worker, provided that the employer is aware of the existence of this danger and fails to implement the prescribed measures in this regard.
The work contract ends in any of the following cases:
1- Expiration of its term or completion of the work agreed upon.
2- Termination of the contract by the worker or the employer in accordance with the provisions of this law.
3- The worker's inability to perform his work or his death.
4- The worker fell ill with a disease that necessitated his absence from work for a continuous or separate period of not less than three months within one year, provided that the period of sick leave stipulated in Article (82) of this law and his balance of regular leave has been exhausted.
Without prejudice to the provisions of Article (40) of this law, the employer may terminate the contract on his part after notifying the worker in the following cases:
1- The worker reaches the old age that necessitates entitlement to a retirement pension under the Social Protection Law unless otherwise agreed.
2- Ending the service of the non-Omani worker in the implementation of the Omanization plan in the event that he appointed an Omani worker to replace him in the same profession he was occupying.
3- The worker's failure to reach the required level of competence after notifying him of the aspects of incompetence and giving him an appropriate period of no less than six months to reach it. If the worker fails, the employer may terminate the employment contract. An Omani substitute for him in the same profession he used to occupy.
4- Closing down the establishment in whole or in part, or bankruptcy, or reducing the size of its activity, or replacing one production system with another in a way that affects the size of the workforce, and in the case other than the total closure or bankruptcy of the establishment, care must be taken not to terminate the contract of the Omani worker who has the same competence and experience as the non-Omani who works with him in the establishment.
5- If the facility has an economic reason.
In the two cases stipulated in Clauses (3, 4) of this Article, the employer shall notify the Ministry of the reason for termination three (3) months prior to the date of termination of the contract.
The employer may, if the economic reason is available, and after the approval of the committee stipulated in Article (45) of this law, reduce the number of workers in his establishment to the extent required to maintain the continuity of the establishment’s work and avoid bankruptcy risks.
A special committee shall be established by a decision of the Minister to consider requests submitted by private sector establishments regarding reducing the number of workers, headed by the Ministry and membership of the following bodies:
1- The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Investment Promotion.
2- Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
3- The General Federation of Oman Workers.
An employer who has an economic reason must submit an application to this committee, accompanied by supporting evidence, indicating the number of workers proposed to be reduced, and the committee shall study the application and decide on it by acceptance or rejection.
The decisions of the committee shall be final unless a grievance is filed before the Court of Appeal within thirty (30) days from the date of notifying the employer thereof.
If the committee is satisfied that the establishment has an economic reason, it may find suitable alternatives for terminating contracts in agreement with the employer and workers, including the following alternatives:
1- Reducing the number of working hours or days in the establishment in return for reducing wages, provided that this procedure is for a specific period determined by the committee and is extendable by its decision for other periods if necessary.
2- Granting workers specific unpaid leave, provided that this is for certain periods and that it includes all workers of the establishment in equal proportions.
3- Reducing the wages of all the workers of the establishment by certain percentages, provided that this is for a specific period that can be extended if necessary.
In the event that he obtains approval to reduce the number of his workers, the employer must comply with the following:
1- Adhering to a fair criterion in selecting the workers whose contracts will be terminated, such as workers with the lowest levels of performance or any other criterion.
2- Giving workers whose contracts will be terminated a notice period of no less than three months.
3 – The workers whose contracts will be terminated shall have priority in re-appointment in the same facility in the event that there is a job opportunity whose requirements are commensurate with their qualifications.
Evidence of the worker’s illness shall be by a medical certificate, and the worker’s incapacity shall be by a decision of the competent committees or the institutions licensed by these committees according to the applicable laws.
Without prejudice to the provisions of the Social Protection Law, if the employer has a supplementary or savings program for workers, and the regulations of the program stipulate that what the employer pays in the program for the account of the worker is in return for his legal obligation to pay the end of service reward and is equal to or more than the reward he is entitled to, This amount must be paid to the worker in lieu of the remuneration, otherwise, the remuneration is due.
If the worker contributes to the funds of this program, he is entitled to combine what he is entitled to in the program and the end-of-service gratuity.
In all cases, prior approval must be obtained from the Ministry and the Social Protection Fund to establish these programs in accordance with the conditions and controls prescribed by law.
The business owner is committed to all the obligations of the establishment in the event of its dissolution, liquidation, closure, bankruptcy, merger with another, sale, lease, assignment, will, gift, or any other type of disposal.
With the exception of cases of liquidation, bankruptcy, and authorized total closure, the work contract remains valid, and the successor shall be jointly responsible with the previous employers for the implementation of all obligations prescribed by law, taking into account the priority established for the rights of workers.
The employer shall employ the Omani workforce who were working on the same project that has been devolved to him in whole or in part, by granting them the same wages, benefits, and financial incentives agreed upon in the transfer agreement.
The Minister may issue a decision regulating the work relationship in cases in which the Sultanate of Oman takes measures regarding a situation or circumstance that calls for that, provided that it includes in particular the reduction of working hours, or the reduction of the minimum operating conditions stipulated in this law or the work contract, and the penalties resulting from violating decision, or take precautionary measures.
Obligations of the Employer
The employer is obligated to create a special file for each worker that includes, in particular, the following:
1- The worker's name, age, marital status, place of residence, and nationality.
2- The worker's profession, qualifications, and experience.
3- The date the worker commenced work and details of his wages.
4- Leaves obtained by the worker.
5- The penalties imposed by the employer on the worker.
6- Work performance reports for the worker.
7- The date of termination of the worker's service and its causes.
The employer shall keep the file stipulated in the previous paragraph for a period of at least one year from the date of termination of the employment relationship.
In all cases, the employer must maintain the confidentiality of the information provided by the worker or seen by the employer in accordance with the provisions of this law, and the worker shall be given a receipt for the papers and certificates he may have deposited with the employer.
The employer may not violate the provisions of the contract or assign the worker to work other than agreed upon, unless necessary to prevent the occurrence of an accident, or to repair the consequences thereof, or in case of force majeure, and on a temporary basis.
However, the employer may assign the worker to work that is not agreed upon if that work is not fundamentally different from the original work, provided that this does not prejudice the rights of the worker, and that it does not result in serious harm or financial burdens without fair consideration.
In the event that he employs fifty workers or more, the employer shall prepare a bylaw of the work system that includes, in particular, the rules for regulating work in the establishment, the rights and duties of both the employer and the worker, the rules regulating his relationship with his colleagues and superiors, the provisions for the promotion of the worker and determining the categories of wages, bonuses, and allowances of all kinds, and dates payment, and the performance appraisal system, and the Ministry shall adopt the regulations within (2) months from the date of their receipt. The employer must amend the regulations in accordance with the laws, regulations, and decisions, and submit them to the Ministry for approval.
The Minister shall issue a guiding model of the work system regulation after consultation with the Joint Dialogue Committee between the production parties.
In all cases, the provisions contained in the form referred to in this article shall be applied to establishments that do not adhere to setting a work system regulation approved by the Ministry.
In the event that he employs (25) twenty-five workers or more, the employer shall prepare a list of penalties and the conditions for their imposition, in accordance with the forms and rules for which a decision is issued by the Minister. Within (2) months from the date of receiving it, and if that period lapses without a response from it, it becomes effective, and the employer must enable the worker to obtain an approved copy of this
In all cases, the provisions contained in the forms and rules referred to in this article shall be applied to establishments that do not adhere to setting a list of penalties approved by the Ministry.
The following shall be taken into account in preparing the list of penalties stipulated in Article (55) of this law:
1- Determine the acts that the worker is prohibited from committing, and the penalties prescribed for them, provided that they are progressive.
2- Not to impose more than one penalty for a single violation.
3- The worker shall not be penalized for an act he committed outside the workplace unless it is related to work.
The employer is obligated to provide the means of first aid for his workers in the establishment, and in the event that the number of his workers in one place exceeds (200) two hundred workers, he must appoint a qualified nurse to provide medical aid, or contract with a specialized institution to provide these services.
If the worker is treated in a government or private hospital and health insurance coverage is not available, the employer must bear the expenses of treatment, medicine, and hospital stay, in accordance with the financial regulations and systems in force in those hospitals.