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Qatar worker complaints fall since start of electronic wage payments

Labor ministry says scheme introduced last November was helping to improve situation

Published: Updated:

Complaints made by migrant workers in Qatar against their employers have fallen by 30 percent since the government banned cash-in-hand salary payments last year that rights groups say puts workers at risk.

Qatar’s ministry of labor said on Wednesday that an electronic payment scheme introduced last November was improving the situation and had made it easier for authorities to penalize employers not paying workers in full and on time.

Around 85 percent of Qatar’s 2.1 million workers are now paid by bank transfer, the ministry statement said.

The government recorded 385 violations by companies for not paying workers on time during the past 12 months.

It said the punishments involve fines of up to 6,000 Qatari Riyals ($1,650) for every worker who did not receive a salary and up to one month in jail, but it was unclear whether any bosses had been imprisoned.

The government received 2,676 worker complaints in the first half of 2016 compared to 3,845 for the same period in 2015, representing a 30.4 percent decrease, the statement added.

Labor Minister Issa al-Nuaimi said in the statement that while challenges remained, the electronic wage system had ensured “greater protections for workers.”