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Article | Global News Briefs

Qatar: Expanding the social security system to the private sector

By Steve Clements | May 25, 2022

New law expands social security benefits to attract more Qatari citizens to the private sector currently dominated by foreign workers.
Health and Benefits|Retirement|Ukupne nagrade

Employer Action Code: Monitor

The social security system in Qatar currently applies only to Qatari nationals working in the public sector and in select entities, such as joint stock companies and other organizations as determined by the Council of Ministers at the General Retirement and Social Insurance Authority (GRSIA). Employees in the private sector are not covered by the system unless they are Qataris employed by one of the few hundred entities required to participate by GRSIA. New legislation — Social Insurance Law No. (1) of 2022 — will expand participation to cover Qataris in the private sector unless their employer offers a private pension that offers better benefits than GRSIA. The law will take effect six months after its publication in the official gazette with the exception of select provisions on the registration of employees and other procedural requirements.

Key details

Changes to the social security system as a result of the new law include the following:

  • Covered employers (in the private sector) will be defined as entities regularly employing one or more Qatari employees. Companies employing Qataris on a temporary basis for less than one year or as independent contractors will be excluded.
  • The total contribution rate will be 21% of annual earnings: 14% from the employer and 7% from the employee. Employee contributions, however, will be based on earnings up to 100,000 Qatari riyals (QR). The current contribution rates are 10% and 5%, respectively, without reference to an earnings ceiling.
  • The minimum monthly pension will be QR15,000, the same as applies to public sector employees under the current system, supplemented by a housing allowance of up to QR6,000 per month.
  • Provisions for retirement, death and disability benefits will largely be in line with current provisions under the public system except that the minimum period of insured employment for a full pension will be 25 years rather than 15 years and pensionable earnings at retirement will be based on average salary over the last three years rather than five years of insured employment.
  • Employees may request the inclusion of up to five years of prior service for coverage, subject to payment of social security contributions for the period of service.
  • Companies offering a retirement plan with benefits that are better than those offered by social security will be exempt from the requirement to participate.

Employer implications

Implementing rules and regulations of the law are still pending and should clarify certain aspects of the new system. Qataris account for only around 10% of the private sector labor force, but the expansion of the social security system may make the private sector more attractive, in line with the government’s initiative — Qatarization — to ensure that 50% of the workforce is made up of Qatari nationals by 2030. That said, the cost of employing Qataris relative to foreign workers will also become that much higher.


Senior Director, Integrated & Global Solutions, CEEMEA

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