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Employment, Pensions & Immigration
As part of Qatar’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup, and to underline the importance of sport and physical well-being as part of Qatar National Vision 2030, the National Sports Day was introduced in 2012. This year, employees in Qatar will celebrate National Sports Day on 8 February 2022. In this article, we summarise how employers can celebrate National Sports Day and support this initiative within their own organisations.
Emiri Decree No. (80) of 2011 which introduced the National Sports Day states the that objective of this holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle amongst Qatar’s workforce; the Decree also includes an express obligation on employers to arrange sporting events for their employees.
Whilst, in the same way as last year, COVID-19 restrictions will determine the number of participants in the arranged sporting events and where they can be held, we would expect employers to make an effort to organise activities which reflect the spirit of National Sports Day, albeit not on the same scale as for pre-COVID-19 years.
With the addition of the National Sports Day, employees in both the public and private sector now enjoy 11 paid public holidays each year. The holidays are provided for in the Qatar Labour Law (Law No. (14) of 2004, as amended) and announced each year, where they are not on a set day, by the Government; there is also a bank holiday in March for financial institutions.
Whilst not relevant for the National Sports Day which always falls on a workday, the second Tuesday in February, it is important for employers to note that a day off in lieu should be given to employees where a public holiday falls on an employee’s weekly rest day(s). In addition, where an employee must work on a public holiday, the overtime provisions of the Qatar Labour Law will apply, i.e. the employee will be compensated as if he or she had worked on a rest day, being a day in lieu and a payment equal to 100% of total pay (i.e. basic pay plus allowances such as accommodation and transport etc) or 150% of basic pay.
Note: All Qatari Laws (save for those issued by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to regulate its own internal business) are issued in Arabic and there are no official translations, therefore for the purpose of drafting this article we have used our own translation and interpreted the same in the context of Qatari laws and regulations.