Expat workers in Oman are reportedly being forced to give up their end of service gratuity in order to receive a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer.
Times of Oman cited legal advisors as saying the practice is occurring, as companies look to avoid paying leaving workers.
This comes despite the denial of gratuity being illegal under Oman’s labour law.
Workers are required to receive a NOC from their company if they wish to switch to another job within Oman. If they fail to secure the document, the employee is banned from returning to Oman for two years.
One legal advisor told the publication that it had handled three cases recently, including one where an expat employee gave up gratuity of OMR12,000 ($31,000) to receive the NOC.
“He gave up the money and took the NOC option. Now, he will be returning to Oman in a new job,” the advisor was quoted as saying.
The publication reported that companies were even going as far as making it look like the money was paid by placing it into the employee’s account and then having them return it in exchange for the NOC.
“One Egyptian worker approached us claiming that his employer is asking him to give up his end of service benefits in return for an NOC. We talked to the employer and got the worker the end of service benefits,” Mohammed Al Farji, a board member of Oman trade union was quoted as saying.
Oman’s labour law states that workers who are not beneficiaries of the Social Insurance law are entitled to post service gratuity of 15 day’s wages for each year of service for the first three years and a month’s wages for each year after.
“If companies push workers to do so [give up their gratuity for a NOC], they should approach us. It is illegal,” Salem Al Saadi, advisor at the Ministry of Manpower was quoted as saying.
Oman has been among the hardest hit in the Gulf by the recent period of low oil prices and is expected to post a $8.6bn budget deficit this year.