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Two-day off must for employees

MUSCAT, MARCH 16 - The Ministry of Manpower reiterated that employees — both nationals and expatriates in the private sector — are entitled for two days of break after working consecutively for five days.

Quoting Article 71 of the labour law, the ministry said in a statement, “It is mandatory to give a weekly offs of not less than two days after five days of consecutive work”.

The statement followed a flurry of complaints in the recent past about violations of labour laws and denial of workers’ rights by some employers.

Commenting on the offences, a senior official at the ministry said that the authorities have intensified inspections at work sites and accommodations.

“The ministry has deployed specialised teams to conduct checks on private sector companies to ensure that they follow the laws. Action will be taken against erring firms in accordance with the law”, he said.

While urging employees to lodge their complaints using the e-portal, the official asked them to avoid using other communication channels including social media to air their grievances.

“If an employer is found not complying with the law and does not correct the violations even after warnings and fines, the case is transferred to the Public Prosecution for further action.”

The private sector employees in Oman have been enjoying a five-day working week from October 2011 following amendments to the Labour Law. According to Article 68 of the law, an employee may not be required to work for more than nine hours a day and a maximum of 45 hours a week with at least half-an-hour break for food and rest.

However, a company can use the services of an employee more than the stipulated hours of work, but it should not exceed 12 hours a day.

In this case, the company should pay the worker 25 per cent extra equivalent to the basic salary for day work, and 50 per cent more for night, or to compensate him/her with a leave equal to the extra working hours.

“The law applies only if the employee is ready to work overtime and accepts the offered wage”, the official added.

The decision taken by the employer is invalid because it violates the Labour Law. “The worker must file a complaint against the establishment,” clarified the statement.

However, domestic workers, including drivers, maids, cooks and those with similar jobs, are excluded from this law. The labour law states that the manpower minister shall issue the rules and terms of work relating to these categories.

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