Migrant workers’ wage protection system in Bahrain

The Minister of Labour and Social Development, Chairman of the Labour Market Regulatory Authority, Mr. Jameel bin Muhammad Ali Hamidan, issued resolution No. 22 of 2021, on the stages of applying the wage protection system for workers in Bahrain’s private sector establishments. The Bahrain Cabinet earlier approved the timeline of the wage protection system. The decision aims to ensure that workers’ wages are transferred to their bank accounts on a regular and timely basis, transparency and oversight enhancement, and support the judiciary in settling wage disputes, as well as reducing negative phenomena in the labour market like irregular employment.
The wage protection system for employers is to achieve maintaining a professional and stable work environment by reducing labour problems which will reflect the development of the work environment double productivity and ensure business continuity for employers. This proves and documents their payment for workers’ wages.
Under this decision, the employer is obliged to pay the wages of its employees according to the Wage Protection System, through any payment method provided by the licensees of the Central Bank of Bahrain in three phases. The first phase includes those who have 500 or more workers and begins on May 2021, while the second phase includes employers with 50-499 workers, begins on September 2021. The third phase includes employers who have 1-49 workers, and will starts on January 2022.
Regarding the payment of domestic workers wages under the ruling, the system will be optional during this period, and the employers who apply the decision will be granted a six-month grace period with the beginning of each phase. When there are practical difficulties exist that prevent registration in the Wage Protection system on time will not be considered as violation.
In a statement on this occasion, the Minister of Labour and Social Development emphasized that the decision is within the Kingdom of Bahrain’s obligations to preserve workers’ rights in accordance with national legislation consistent with international labour standards, especially regarding their financial rights and which is ruled by the contract of employment, and the decision contributes to strengthening the fight against trafficking in persons and forced labour by identifying suspected cases proactively, stressing that failure to pay monthly salaries in scheduled times will entail sanctions and legal procedures against violators, applying it gradually and according to the specific stages of implementation.
Hamidan said that the employer may start applying the system without waiting for the date of the application of the stage which includes it according to the deadlines for each of the stages of article of the decision. He emphasized in this context that setting time periods for the implementation of the decision It comes within the framework of the resilient government policy with all employers, aimed at sustaining economic growth, boosting productivity and securing the rights of all productive parties. – – Sudheer Thirunilath