Oman - Labor



The estimated workforce was 920,000 in 2002. A large proportion of the population were still engaged in subsistence agriculture or fishing. The skilled local labor force is small, and many of the larger industries depend on foreign workers from India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka— foreign laborers constituted over 80% of the modern-sector workforce in 1996.

Omani law does not provide the right of union formation. The law forbids a strike for any reason. Collective bargaining is not permitted, however there exist labor-management committees in firms with more than 50 workers. These committees are not authorized to discuss conditions of employment, including hours and wages. The Labor Welfare Board provides a venue for grievances.

The minimum working age is 13, but this provision is not enforced against the employment of children in family businesses or on family farms. The minimum wage for nonprofessional workers was $260 per month in 2002. However, many classes of workers (domestic servants, farmers, government employees) are not required to receive the minimum wage and the government is not consistent in its enforcement of the minimum wage law. The private sector workweek is 40 to 45 hours long, while government officials have a 35-hour workweek.

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