The New Law aims at improving the coverage and the adequacy of Oman’s social protection system by providing a unified social protection program to Omani nationals and by extending certain social benefits to non-Omani workers, who constitute the majority of the workforce in Oman.
The most relevant changes introduced by the New Law include:
Extension of social protection benefits to non-Omani workers
Maternity and paternity leave entitlements
Effective July 2024, non-Omani employees will be entitled to maternity leave of 98 calendar days and paternity leave of seven calendar days. Maternity and paternity leave benefits will be paid by Oman’s social security system rather than by the employer. Employers will be subject to a new social security contribution of 1% of an employee’s salary to finance those benefits.
Effective July 2025, non-Omani workers will also be entitled to sick leave, as well as other paid leaves for special circumstances, such as marriage leave, bereavement leave, and caregiver leave. These leaves will be paid by social security.
The first seven calendar days of sick leave benefits will be paid at 100% of the employees’ gross salary by the employer. Starting with day eight, sick leave is paid by social security as follows:
- Day eight to day 21 are paid at 100% of the employees’ gross salary
- Day 22 to day 35 are paid at 75% of the employee’s gross salary
- Day 36 to day 70 are paid at 50% of the employee gross salary
- Day 71 to day 182 are paid at 35% of the employee gross salary
To finance those benefits, employers will be subject to an additional social security contribution of 1% of an employee’s salary.
Work injury and illness benefits
Effective July 2026, non-Omani workers will be entitled to work injury and illness benefits financed by an additional social security contribution of 1% of the employee’s salary, equally split between employee and employer.
Under the current law, non-Omani workers are entitled to a lump-sum end-of-service gratuity equal to 15 days’ salary per year for the first three years of service and then 30 days’ salary per each year of service thereafter. Employees who do not complete a full year of service are not entitled to an end-of-service gratuity.
Effective July 2026, a contributory savings fund will replace the lump-sum end-of-service gratuity. The savings fund will have an individual account for each employee and is expected to be funded by a monthly contribution of 9% of the employee’s salary. It is still unclear who will be contributing towards this fund. More details on the contributions and the functioning of the savings funds will be provided in the forthcoming implementing regulations.
Unification of social insurance old age, disability, and survivor pensions for Omani nationals
For more transparency and efficiency, the New Law merges 11 social insurance funds into one single national social protection fund covering all Omani employees. The unified fund will be administered by a new agency which will be overseen by a board of directors with representatives from the government, employers, and employees. The New Law creates the following benefit programs:
- Omani nationals aged 60 and older will be entitled to a government-funded pension of OMR 115 per month.
- Permanently disabled Omani nationals will be entitled to a government-funded pension of OMR 130 per month.
- Omani orphans aged 18 or older and widowers aged 60 or older will be entitled to a government-funded monthly pension of OMR 80 (reduced by any other social insurance benefit the survivor receives). This benefit applies regardless of whether the deceased contributed to the social security program or not.
- All Omani children aged 17 and younger will be entitled to a government-funded child pension of OMR 10 per month.
- Omani employees who have involuntarily lost their job will be entitled to a pension for a maximum period of 6 months equivalent to 60% of their average wage for the previous two years. This new unemployment benefit will be financed through an additional social security contribution of a total of 1% of the employee’s salary split equally between employees and employers.
It is still unclear whether there will be an earnings ceiling on the new contributions that will be introduced from 2024. The forthcoming implementing regulations are likely to provide more clarity on that once released.
Employers should review the changes and monitor the implementation timeline of the New Law and the publication of the implementing regulations to ensure timely compliance. Pending further clarification by the implementing regulations, employers should start preparing for the implementation of the changes by identifying all employees for whom they will be required to contribute and reviewing and amending their HR internal policies and practices, employment agreements, as needed.
Royal Decree No. 52/2023