June 11, 2020 / 1:40 PM / 21 days ago

Qatari government entities must cut foreign staff costs by 30%: document

DUBAI (Reuters) - Qatar has directed ministries and all other government and public entities to reduce costs for non-Qatari employees by 30% as of June 1, either via pay cuts or lay-offs, a finance ministry document seen by Reuters showed.

The document also outlined other cuts affecting Qatari employees, including to benefits, which come as the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter feels the bite of a global coronavirus downturn that has sapped energy demand.

Expatriates make up the majority of many Gulf states’ populations, including in tiny Qatar, where the workforce of everything from its banks to airlines are filled out by foreign nationals.

Like other Gulf states, Qatar has been pushing to nationalise much of its labour force, a task complicated by a national population of just roughly 300,000.

The government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Non-Qatari government employees would be given a two-month grace period if they were terminated, the document said.

For Qatari employees, cash allowances in lieu of holidays would cease, as would advance payments except for marriages, the document said.

The ministry also said the office of the prime minister must be notified if a government entity wished to retain an employee after they reach the age of 60.

As of June 11, Qatar had registered a total of 75,071 coronavirus cases, the second highest tally among Gulf Arab states after Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Eric Knecht; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Alex Richardson

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