Friday, April 11, 2014

Leave Entitlement Under Labour Law

The Omani Labour Law (promulgated by Royal Decree 35/2003, as amended) (“OLL”) covers leave entitlements available to employees working in Oman.

The provisions relating to leave entitlements under OLL (and related laws and regulations issued by the Ministry of Manpower) are:

Annual Leave

The provision governing the annual leave entitlement of an employee was amended by Royal Decree 113/2011 to provide that an employee is entitled to take annual leave with full salary for a period of not less than thirty calendar days, upon completion of six months of service. Based on the requirements of the work, the leave may be divided and availed at different times.

The OLL further provides that an employee must take at least one two-week period of leave in two years. If an employee leaves the employment before utilising the full annual leave available to him then he/she is entitled to seek the basic wage for the unavailed period of his/her accrued annual leave.

Sick Leave

Article 66 of the OLL provides that, subject to the provisions of the Social Insurance Law, an employee is entitled to sick leave for one or more periods which shall not exceed ten weeks in a year regardless of whether the leave is divided or continuous. Sick leave salary entitlements will be granted in the following manner:

  1. First two weeks leave: full pay
  2. Following two weeks leave: paid ¾ of the full salary
  3. Following two weeks leave: paid ½ of the full salary
  4. Following four weeks leave: paid ¼ of the full salary
The employee must produce a medical certificate to establish his/her sickness, and in the event of a dispute, the matter has to be referred to the medical committee, whose decision in matters of sickness is final.

Whilst the OLL grants the employee with the rights to sick leave, Article 43 of the OLL provides that the employment contract may be terminated if the sickness of an employee compels him/her to discontinue work for a continuous or an interrupted period of not less than ten weeks during a year.

Emergency Leave

The Ministry of Manpower issued Ministerial Decision 657/2011 which covers emergency leave at private sector establishments. It states that emergency leave is to be granted to an employee where an emergency situation beyond the employee’s control has arisen suddenly. The situation must be legitimate and has to be proven. The employee is entitled to six days of emergency leave with full salary in a year for emergency circumstances. Each block of emergency leave cannot exceed two days. The emergency leave is in addition to the thirty days annual leave period.

Special Leave

The OLL provides for certain situations where special leave may be granted to an employee. Special leave is granted with the full salary and an employee may avail himself of this leave only under the following circumstances:
  1. Three days in case of marriage (once only);
  2. Three days in case of death (son, daughter, mother, father, wife, grandfather, grandmother, brother or sister);
  3. Two days in case of the death of an uncle or an aunt;
  4. Fifteen days for the performance of Al-Haj (pilgrimage) once throughout the period of his service and only after one year of service;
  5. One hundred and thirty days for a working Muslim wife in the event of her husband’s death; and
  6. Fifteen days during the year, in the case of an Omani employee who is also an associate student with one of the schools, institutes, colleges or universities, for the purpose of sitting an examination.
Weekly Rest Day

Article 71 of the OLL provides that an employer is obliged to grant an employee not less than two days of rest per week after five continuous working days.

However, it is our understanding that employees can work six days per week, provided that this is clearly set out in their contract, and provided that they are either (i) paid double their daily basic salary for the sixth day, or (ii) given an extra day of annual leave in compensation for each sixth day worked. In addition, we understand that workers can work six days per week indefinitely, provided the contract provides for this mechanism.

Accumulation of weekly rest days for not more than eight weeks may be permitted by a decision of the Minister in respect of certain places of work if such arrangement is agreed in writing between the employer and employee. Weekly rest days under no circumstances may exceed eight weeks. Weekly rest days have to be compensated with full salary.

Maternity Leave

The OLL now entitles working women to a maternity leave of fifty days fully paid, to cover the pre- and post-maternity period. Working women may be entitled to extra days of leave provided they have valid medical reasons for absenteeism.

Public Holiday

Article 65 of the OLL states that an employee is entitled to their full salary for holidays, festivals and other occasions that may be specified by a decision of the Minister. A holiday specified by a decision of the Minister will be a public holiday.

OLL further provides that, if a public holiday coincides with a weekly paid rest day (e.g., Friday), the employee has to be compensated by another rest day. Further, if an employee is required to work on a public holiday then he must be compensated with an additional day of rest, or double basic salary of that day.