Friday, May 10, 2013

Key Issues In Omani Labour Law

There are a number of important points of Oman labour law that we see frequently enough that we believe they are worth highlighting here.

These issues include the following:

  • Article 30 of the Labour Law states that a worker cannot be accused of a violation after the expiry of 15 days from the discovery thereof.  The same provision also states that no disciplinary penalty shall be imposed on a worker after 30 days has elapsed from the date a violation is proven.  The Courts will often rule against an employer based on a procedural breach of Article 30.
  • The approach of the Omani Courts is to only allow one fixed term contract per worker.  Subsequent contracts, even if stated to be fixed term contracts, will in fact be treated as contracts of unlimited duration.
  • Terminating a worker for non-performance is difficult but not impossible.  Specific labour law advice needs to be taken in every instance as the facts of the scenario are all-important.  A major issue is that the worker must sign to acknowledge receipt of any warning letters.  If the worker refuses to sign, two Omani male witnesses should sign on a copy of the letter to state that they witnessed the worker’s refusal.
  • The Supreme Court has held that it is a justified, fair dismissal if an expatriate employee is replaced with an Omani national.
  • On certain occasions, the Omani Courts have held that it is justified for a company to lay off workers if the company is suffering heavy losses.  The Courts will always want to see audited corporate financials in these situations.
We hope that the above information is useful as we note that these issues are arising with greater frequency.