Qatar has come under fire with criticism from human rights groups about its labor laws in general and the policies of the national Qatar Airways airline in particular.
Now, documents released from the U.N. International Labor Organization (ILO) are telling the story in a bit of a more detailed way.
A document released earlier this year analyzes the behaviors of the Qatar government after a committee of the ILO made recommendations last year.
The beginning of the document basically shows that the ILO Committee of Experts is calling for a broader timeline for Qatari compliance and suggests changes should take effect by 2017.
There is also a documented discussion that refutes some of the news media's biggest sticking points about Qatar Airways policy that focused on the alleged policy of terminating female staff members who become pregnant. A government representative quoted in the document states that the airline now guarantees ground staff posts for pregnant women.
Another major policy item under scrutiny was an alleged demand that crew members notify the airline before getting married. The government representative speaking to ILO officials in the document clarified that under new contracts, crew members need not ask their employer’s permission to change their marital status.
ILO officials also found that female employees of Qatari companies do enjoy some privileges, such as paid maternity leave, which is becoming a prominent aspect of social policy around the world. The document also cites the Qatar Vision 2030 program, which, according to its framers, emphasizes the effective role of women in society both economically and politically.
At the same time, the document also moves to a discussion of the plight of domestic orders in the country. Officials point out that although Qatar is preparing a draft law for this category of workers, traditionally, domestic workers were not covered under certain labor laws, although their situations have been relevant to civil law.
In response to these points, both in the airline's policy and the general policy regarding domestic workers, the ILO document provides extensive commentary and testimony by officials from all over the world, including government members of Switzerland, Jordan, Indonesia, Lebanon, Norway, Belgium and Algeria, as well as other Gulf nations.
The end of the document references conclusions where the ILO Committee of Experts calls upon the Qatar government to, first of all, comply with recommendations by 2017.
The committee also asks the Qatar government to make sure that domestic workers are included in anti-discrimination laws and to take proactive measures to address sexual harassment protection for all workers.
The ILO and various human rights groups will continue monitoring the welfare of domestic workers, airline workers and other groups of workers within Qatar, with concrete suggestions in place to address oppressive policies and allow Qatar to earn better international ratings as a country with humane domestic policy.