Qatar Airways has relaxed its policies for cabin crew after facing criticism from trade unions and other international organisations for practicing discriminatory labour clauses.
The airline’s labour policy stipulated that it could sack female cabin crew employees if they get married or pregnant during the first five years of their employment.
But as per the new rules, women who are pregnant are offered temporary ground jobs while staff can get married after notifying the company.
A company spokeswoman told AFP that Qatar Airways had “phased out these rules” – oft referred to as restrictive and discriminatory- over the last six months.
“Our policies have evolved with the airline’s growth,” she said.
Other policy regulations including the need for close male relatives to pick up women staff from work will continue to remain in place, the airline added.
Qatar Airways employs around 9,000 cabin crew, out of which three-quarters are women.
Earlier this year, the Gulf carrier was criticised by the International Labour Organisation for its discriminatory polices, especially regarding pregnant women. ILO acknowledged the health risks for pregnant women face when operating as cabin crew but urged the Gulf carrier to put in other policies that will ensure that female staff will retain their jobs.
“Protective measures should include action taken to ensure that a woman worker does not lose her job during pregnancy and that maternity is not a source of discrimination in employment and occupation,” a report by ILO said.
The committee also noted that the prohibition for women employees to be dropped off or picked up from the company by a man other than their father, brother or husband amounts to “discrimination based on sex.”
ILO issued the report following complaints made by the International Trade Union Confederation and the International Transport Workers’ Federation about Qatar Airways’ staff policies.
But Qatar Airways has said that the change in employment policies was a result of an internal review and not due to international criticism.