Doha, Qatar: On June 8th, 2020, USQBC hosted a virtual panel discussion “Beyond the Curve: Returning to Work in Qatar” in collaboration with USQBC member company, DLA Piper. The discussion focused on considerations for re-opening the workplace after the shutdown resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The virtual discussion featured leading speakers from the medical, legal, and real estate sectors. Opening remarks were delivered by Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director of USQBC’s Qatar Office, and were followed by a keynote address by Frank Ryan, DLA Piper’s US Chair-elect, and Joseph Guarino, Partner and DLA Piper’s US Envoy to the Middle East.
“Qatar is very important to DLA Piper and we’ve had a longstanding relationship for many years,” said Frank Ryan, DLA Piper’s US-Chair elect. “These are certainly challenging times, and we are confident that the learnings from the experts on this panel will help guide the return to work in Qatar.”
“Through its policies, Qatar’s government has paved the way for a successful reopening of the workplace,” said Sheikha Mayes bint Hamad Al-Thani, Managing Director of USQBC in Qatar. “It’s critical to ensure that employers are informed of the legal issues which are presented during this process.”
A presentation was then delivered by panelists including Mark Proudley, Director of Cushman & Wakefield Qatar; Dr. Mohammed El Akkad, Vice Chairman of Survey Department and Head of General Surgery from Hamad Medical Corporation; Dana Al-Noaimi, Deputy General Counsel of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy; and Sultan Al-Abdulla, Managing Partner of Sultan Al-Abdulla & Partners. This was followed by a Q&A session moderated by Joseph Guarino, Partner of DLA Piper.
Qatar is gradually easing restrictions placed on certain economic activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While general guidelines are being released through Qatar’s Ministry of Health, companies must begin developing entity-specific plans and procedures to return to work. This discussion highlights some of the key issues employers must think about going forward including: deciding when and how to reopen, how to prepare a safe workplace, how to prepare the workforce to return to the office, how to manage your labor force, and how to minimize the risk of litigation in this process.
The US-Qatar Business Council stands ready to help US employers with offices in Qatar navigate these challenges and ensure a successful return to work.