Through a series of articles about Oman’s rules and regulations, entitled “Know Oman,” experts educate readers about their rights and responsibilities while working and living in Oman.
Muscat: Both nationals and expats working in the private sector in Oman are entitled to avail of sick leaves every service year, under the law.
Speaking exclusively to the Times of Oman, representatives of the Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm, a leading legal office in Oman, explained particular provisions of Oman’s Labour Law.
“The term ‘sick leave’ is defined in Article 66 of the Omani Labour Law, which states that subject to the provisions of the Social Insurance Law, the worker whose illness is certified shall be entitled to a sick leave, the total of which shall not exceed 10 weeks in one year, irrespective of whether it is divided or continuous,” said Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Zadjali, Chairman of the Mohammed Ibrahim Law Firm.
“Employees in the private sector in Oman, irrespective of their nationality – whether they are Omanis or expats – and their professional position at the company are entitled to the benefit of sick leave days during their service, as per the law,” he added.
However, there are times when employers wonder how to interpret Article 66 and if the calculation of the sick leaves during the first year of the service of the employee would be proportional to the number of months he has been with the company during that calendar year, according to another spokesperson from the law firm.
“Actually, there is no provision in the Labour Law that enables the employer to allow an employee to avail of sick leave on a proportional basis,” said the spokesperson.
“The way the sick leave is defined under the law gives the employee the right to avail of it immediately upon joining the company, as long as his or her sickness is certified.”
He added that the “year” referred to in Article 66 means a “service year” and not a “calendar year.”
“In calculating sick leave, the service year of the employee, which refers to one year from his/her date of joining the company, shall be taken into account, and not the calendar year from January to December,” explained another expert.
“This means that an employee can avail of sick leave for 10 weeks in one service year.”
“To establish his or her sickness, the employee must present a medical certificate to the employer,” he added.
“In the event of a dispute, the matter has to be referred to the medical committee, whose decision in matters of sickness is final.”
The expert also emphasised that Article 66 defines the wages that shall be paid during the sick leave.
“The employee will be given his/her full gross wage in the first and second week of the leave period, and three quarters of his/her gross wage in the third and fourth weeks,” he explained.
“In the fifth and sixth weeks, the employee will be granted half of his/her gross wage, and it will come down to one quarter, starting from the seventh week until the end of the 10th week of the leave.”
He added that while the law enables employees to avail of sick leaves, it also defines the conditions under which an employee can be terminated on grounds of sickness.
“This matter is addressed in Article 43, Clause 5 of the Omani Labour Law, which states that the employment agreement can be terminated if the employee avails of sick leaves for a period exceeding 10 weeks in one service year, given that the employee’s sickness shall be certified by a medical certificate issued by a medical commission,” disclosed the expert.