|THE LEGAL HELPLINE
|Life-long undertakings in service contracts invalid
By Nizar Kochery
QUESTION: My services have been terminated by the company on my demand to increase my salary. The company is asking me to sign a declaration to the effect that I will not work in Qatar anytime in future. Is there such a law banning a worker from Qatar when he leaves a company? All our past employees have apparently signed similar bonds before exit from the country and that is the explanation given by the company.
ANSWER: According to Article 43 of Qatar’s Labour Laws, any condition in a service contract shall be void when it contains an undertaking by the worker to work for the rest of his life with the employer or to abstain from carrying out any craft or profession which may be carried out after leaving the work even if the contract is agreed before the coming into force of this law.
However, if the nature of the work allows the worker to know the clients of the employer or the secrets of the business of the institution, the employer may stipulate that the worker shall not compete with him or participate in any undertaking competing with him after expiry of the contract.
Such stipulation shall be valid only if it is restricted to its duration and place and to type of the work to the extent necessary for the protection of the legitimate interests of the employer. The period of such an undertaking shall not exceed two years, however.
Law on minutes in a company
Q: I am a partner shareholder in a company in Doha but not a resident in the country. What is the law on minutes in a company with limited liability? Can a partner who is not in the country depute another to verify the minutes?
A: Minutes shall be written including an adequate summary of the General Assembly deliberations. The General Assembly minutes and resolutions shall be entered in a special register to be kept at the company place of business and every partner shall have the right to peruse such register either personally or through an agent.
Contract for specific work
Q: I came to Qatar for a specific project and the work is almost in its finishing stage. However, the company is procuring a new job relating to the same project. Will it be possible to get my employment contract renewed on award of the new project?
A: Under Article 41, if the subject-matter of the contract is the performance of a specific work, the contract expires on the performance of that work. If the work is, by its nature, susceptible of being renewed and the performance of the contract continues after performance of the agreed work, the contract shall be considered to have been renewed for similar periods by agreement of the two parties.
Attachment of salary
Q: What is the salary attachment procedure? My company attaches 15% of my salary every month against the expenses of the company for visa, travel and accommodation. By contract, my accommodation is to be provided by the company. Can the company deduct an amount from my salary without any agreement? What exactly is the provision on deductions?
A: Article 70 is the relevant provision on deductions. Any part of the wage to which the worker is entitled may not be attached and the payment thereof may not be withheld except for the execution of a judicial decision. In case of attachment in execution of a judgment the Shariah alimony debt shall have priority over all other debts and the total of the sums attached shall not exceed 35% of the wage of the indebted worker.
The total of the sums to be deducted from the wage of the worker in settlement of the deductibles and debts due from him shall not exceed 50% of his aggregate wage. If the percentage which shall be deducted from the wage of the worker within one month exceeds this percentage the deduction of the excess percentage shall be deferred to the following month or months.
The employer may not charge any interest on the loan he may grant to the worker and shall not deduct more than 10% from the wage of the worker in settlement of the loan.
LEGAL SYSTEM IN QATAR
According to Article 582 of the civil laws of Qatar, a lease is a contract by which the lessor undertakes to enable the lessee to enjoy a specific thing for a certain time in return for a fixed rent.
In the absence of a provision of the law to the contrary, a person who has only a right of management cannot, without the consent of the competent authority, enter into a lease for a term exceeding three years.
If the lease is granted for a longer term, it will be reduced to three years. A lease granted by a usufructuary, unless ratified by the bare owner, ends when the usufruct is extinguished, subject to the delay provided for giving notice of evacuation and the time required to gather and transport the annual crop. Rent may consist either of money or of any other financial consideration.
If the parties have not agreed the amount of the rent or the manner in which the rent shall be fixed, or if the amount of the rent cannot be established, it shall be based on the current rent for other similar properties.
If the parties do not fix a date for commencement of the lease, the date of the lease agreement shall be the effective date.
Article 588 stipulates that if a lease agreement is concluded without any agreement as to term, or for an undetermined period, or if tile term cannot be established, it shall be deemed to have been made for the term fixed for payment of the rent.
The lease shall expire at the end of the term in question, at the request of one of the parties, subject to notice being given by him to the other by a registered letter for vacating the property before the end of the latter part of the lease term. The notice period shall not be more than three months.
The lessor is bound to deliver to the lessee the leased property and its accessories in a condition suitable for the purpose for which it is intended, in accordance with the agreement between the parties or with the nature of the property according to Article 590.
If the leased property is delivered to the lessee in such a condition that it is unfit for the use for which it is leased, or if its usefulness is appreciably diminished, the lessee may demand either the cancellation of the lease agreement or a reduction of the rent equivalent to the loss of use; in both cases he is entitled to claim compensation, if compensation is due without prejudice to his right to oblige the lessor to carry out the necessary repairs to enable him to get the intended benefit.