Labour policy under review for more ‘flexibility’

The Ministry of Labour is reviewing its policies to add more legislative powers and bring more flexibility to cope with the current changes in the labour market.
“In order to be able to compete globally, Oman has to increase flexibility in the labour market to adapt to changes in supply and demand”, says the Medium-Term Fiscal Balance Plan for 2020-24.
“As part of the country’s development, it is necessary to take stock of changes in the labour market and structure. A review of the laws and legislation will help raise the living standards of Omanis and ensure that companies will employ more nationals”, says the report which was unveiled last week.
As part of the process, the Ministry of Labour is reviewing the policies and making Omanisation targets in various sectors more flexible.
“These policies will help increase employment opportunities for Omanis and help in attracting businesses by reducing structural labour rigidity”, the report points out. The amendments that are likely to be included while reviewing the policy include articles to protect the rights of proper workplace compensation and benefits to employees in the country, especially for workers who are laid off or terminated, and rights to special leave for mothers and pregnant women in the private sector, in a manner similar to the government sector. Commenting on the plan to review the labour laws, Mohamed al Balushi, a human resource expert, said: “The current situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices call for the need to review the Labour Law, as this has led to many consequences which have affected companies and workers alike.”
According to him, hundreds of workers have either been laid off or their services terminated without proper compensation.
“Hence it is necessary that the laws are reviewed to make changes or add more regulations to cope with the current changes in the market, to ensure private sector workers’ rights and privileges are protected’’, he said.

SAMUEL KUTTY
@samkuttyvp