More benefits for workers in new Bahrain law
Manama, July 30, 2012
Bahrain has introduced a new legislation that includes tougher punishments for companies that flout health and safety standards, grants private sector workers 30 days of annual leave and increases the length of maternity leave.
It also gives extra rights to domestic workers, who were previously not protected by law.
The new-look Labour Law was ratified by His Majesty King Hamad on Friday and Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan has been given six months to come up with by-laws to execute it.
Under the new law, employees sacked unfairly would qualify for an entire year's salary in compensation.
Meanwhile, employers who violate the new Labour Law would face fines of BD200 ($530) to BD500.
Under the law, female private sector workers would get 60 days of maternity leave instead of the current 45.
They would also be entitled to another 15 days off without pay if additional time was needed, in line with their counterparts in the government sector.
Contracts signed under the existing law would have to be updated to include benefits granted under the new legislation. However, if employees actually lose benefits as a result new contracts have to be drawn up.
Failure to implement proper health and safety standards at work could carry jail sentences of up to three months and fines of BD500 to BD1,000, or both. The punishment is doubled for a repeat offence.
Meanwhile, employees would be granted sick leave within a year of up to 15 days with pay, 20 additional days with half pay and 20 more days without pay. The sick leave could be extended by up to 182 days if ordered by a medical commission.
Employees aged 15 to 18 who are not working on a professional contract would also get 30 days' annual leave.
Humaidan said that the new-look law included many new labour rights that brought private sector employees in line with the Civil Service Bureau.
'The new-look law will help attract more investments considering that there will be many Bahrainis interested in the private sector with the introduction of the new benefits,' he said.
'It is implemented from the day it has been ratified officially and based on the King's directives we have six months to prepare by-laws wherever necessary to organise implementation.
'This law is an achievement we have managed to come up with over four years with our partners - businessmen and workers' representatives - besides parliament and the Shura Council's keenness on ensuring best benefits for both employer and employee.'
He said the old law was introduced 36 years ago and had to be replaced to keep up with development in Bahrain.
'There were loopholes in the old law in relationship to workers' negotiations with management and ways of settling disputes that never existed before or weren't practised,' he said.
'Besides that the law also brings housemaids under proper contractual terms with their sponsors in line with humanitarian and domestic rules and regulations that other workers get, which means that they will have the right to complain and file grievances in case of breach of contract.' – TradeArabia News Service