Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Ramadan Timing and Calculation of Overtime During Ramadan

The Ministry of Manpower has formulated certain regulations to be followed during the holy month of Ramadan.  The Omani Labour Law, promulgated by Sultani Decree 35 2003 and its amendments, specifies in Article 68 that the working hours for Muslims during the Holy Month of Ramadan shall be six hours per day, or a maximum of thirty hours per week.

Article 70 of the Omani Labour Law further provides that an employee may be required to work for more hours than prescribed by Article 68, if the nature of work necessitates working more hours. However, under no circumstances may the total working hours exceed the prescribed working hours. Further, as part of the employee’s entitlement, the employer must grant the employee not less than two consecutive days of rest per week after five continuous working days.

When it comes to overtime work undertaken by workers, the employer is required to pay the worker an extra payment equal to his/her basic salary against the extra work hours plus 25% at least for daytime  working  hours,  and  50%  for  nighttime  working  hours.    Additionally,  if  such  work  is performed during the weekly day of rest or during the official holidays, the employee shall, unless compensated with another day, be entitled to double of his/her gross salary for such a day.  The Ministry  of  Manpower  has,  by  way  of  Ministerial  Decision  1  1976,  provided  that  such overtime payment provisions will not apply to senior private sector employees, such as professionals including “doctors,  engineers  and  those  of  similar  standard”  or  those  persons  who  undertake  dual  roles involving “administrative and supervisory work.”

Notwithstanding the above, the Omani Labour Law also provides that those employers engaged in works carried out at ports and airports or on board ships, vessels, or aircraft may agree to pay employees an allowance in lieu of overtime, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Manpower.  It may be possible for companies in this instance to seek the approval of the Ministry of Manpower to provide an allowance to the employees in lieu of overtime.

During the month of Ramadan, the employer must ensure, with regard to employees’ extra working hours, that any arrangement that the employer and the employee agree upon can be adopted, as long as it does not violate the provisions of the Omani Labour Law.  A Muslim worker must therefore work for a maximum of six hours per day or thirty hours per week, irrespective of whether the work is undertaken during the night or during the day.  Though the maximum working hours for Muslim employees during Ramadan is six hours per day, Article 70 of the Oman Labour Law grants an exemption and permits the employee and employer to agree in advance any additional working hours and the consideration in lieu for the same.  Accordingly, any additional hours that a Muslim employee will be required to work will be construed as overtime work.  The employer will therefore be legally required to compensate the extra hours worked by the Muslim employees during Ramadan in accordance with Article 73 of the Oman Labour Law.

Further, it is also recommended that the employer communicates the Ramadan work timings to the Muslim workers and that the overtime calculation system is explained to them in order to avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes.