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New labor law becomes … law Renews hope

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 21: The new Kuwait labor law has become law after being published in the official Kuwait Gazette on Feb 21 relieving expatriates and renewing their hope of a better future working in the country.
The law, which has updated provisions regarding salary, public holidays, paid leave, sick leave as well as end of service payments deemed suitable for employees and their employers, was approved by the National Assembly last year and was sent to the Kuwait Cabinet before being sent to His Highness the Amir for endorsement.
Expatriates in Kuwait expressed a positive outlook to the Arab Times saying that their rights should now finally be fully-considered by employers. “This is an excellent initiative by the government of Kuwait in order to protect the rights of the expatriate community in Kuwait, however, it still remains to be seen if the law will be fully implemented, which is equally important,” says Sidiq Valayakath who is President of the Federation of Indian Muslim Associations (FIMA).

Valayakath added that this initiative still does not include the rights of domestic workers who make a large portion of the working community in Kuwait. “It is our desire that domestic workers are not overlooked as well. The provisions that I believe will have the most impact are the provisions on annual leave and payment of salary,” he said.
The new labor law mandates that salaries of all employees be sent to banks before the 7th of each month. It also allows employees paid leave on all official holidays, a day off every week, and 30 days of annual leave even during the first year of work. Article 76 grants 21 days paid Hajj pilgrimage leave to an employee who has spent two consecutive years in service under the same employer and has never performed the Hajj pilgrimage previously.
Leave must also be granted to the employees on all the 13 days of public holidays and if workers are made to work on public holidays, they must be given a bonus of half-a-day’s salary in addition to a full day’s pay.

Furthermore, a worker is entitled to 40 days of paid sick leave, with full pay for the first 10 days, 75 percent pay for the next 10 days, 50 percent pay for the following 10 days and 25 percent pay for the last 10 days. An employee is entitled up to 30 days of unpaid sick leave if all his/her paid sick leaves are used up.
According to article 51 of the labor law, a worker will get complete end-of-service compensation at the end of the contract period. The employee is entitled to full indemnity if the contract is terminated by the employer, or the employment contract ends without being renewed. A female employee can get full indemnity if she terminates the contract from her side due to marriage within a year from her marriage date.
 “This is very good news for us as expatriates in Kuwait as this new law has made us believe that Kuwait has become more concerned with our basic rights as workers like a lot of other developed countries around the world which is what we everyone in living in a foreign country should expect. I am especially relieved about the end of service indemnity provisions so now I can work hard knowing I will be taken care of,” said Rasha Goma, an Egyptian female working at the North Africa Holding Company in Kuwait.
Article 53 states that the employee is entitled to half month’s salary for every year if the employee resigns after more than three years and less than five years in the service. If the employee resigns after five years but less than ten years of service, he is entitled to 75 percent of the monthly salary for every year. Beyond 10 years, the employee gets a full month’s salary as compensation for every year of service.

Other provisions include rights of employed women including article 22, which prohibits the employment of women from 10 pm to 7 am except those who work in treatment homes or other institutions specified in a decision issued by the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor.
Amna Al-Jaray, Action Global Communications country manager said that what has always concerned her was the period of maternity leave available; “Previously I was allowed 40 days maternity leave and had to include with it my 30 days annual leave. I worked for a full year without leave because I’ve used up my holiday for the maternity period.”
Under the new labor law, pregnant women can now take a paid leave of 70 days as long as they give birth within this period of time. New mothers can also be granted an unpaid leave of four months and the law also prohibits employers from dismissing female workers during this period. An employer is also obliged to establish a day care center for children below four years of age if more than 50 women or 200 men work in the establishment.
Employees who meet with accidents on the job or on their way to and from work must receive full salaries throughout the recovering period slated by a physician. If this period exceeds six months, then the employer pays half the salary until the injured employee recovers, dies or his/her handicap is confirmed.
Regarding employee termination, the new law says that the employer must give a notice of three months and no worker can be terminated while on leave. The notice period for an employee to resign his or her job is also three months. The law also prohibits employers from firing workers without a reason, as a result of activities in NGOs or because they demanded their rights.


By: Nihal Sharaf

Read By: 30372
Comments: 5

Rules need to be AppliedAbdul Rehman | 2/24/2010 8:12:12 PM finally the government has taken steps to pass laws to safeguard the rights of employees but mere passing of laws will do nothing. Kuwait is notorious world wide in the human rights violations. After passing the laws the law makers should keep in mind that WASTAH (approach) is above law here in Kuwait. The Kuwaiti employers use this WASTAH to make safe passage for them and it is only the employee who suffers inspite of making complaints too many employers carry out human rights violations without fearing because they know that they are having a strong back. These violations come into light only when it concerns a group of too many employees who finally come on roads and protest but the individual cases like this who are thousands in number are daily curbed and crushed by employers here. Not only this, the government should take steps and limit the salary of employees in private sector-profession wise. If the government is serious about the salaries in ministries and are given increments and other allowances every year why not in private sector? The government should also keep a check on the residential buildings for workers from outside. The sizes of the rooms in these buildings is smaller than a cell of a jail not enough for two persons and the size of the bathrooms in a studio room is that one person cannot sit to take a comfortable bath but the rent charged is 80-90 Kuwaiti Dinars minimum. I would like to ask when the room is not sufficient for two persons how can the workers afford a studio room when they are given 100-120 dinars salary. Are not they human beings? Should not they be treated as human beings? There should be laws for the size of residential rooms and the monthly rent as per the size of room. Once a Kuwaiti journalist had written an article in a daily newspaper raising her finger against the lifestyle of these workers and also had shown a picture of a room shared by five to six workers to support her article. I want to ask her and other law make
Holding of Passport Online Zombie | 2/24/2010 6:52:44 PM They should do something about companies holding an employee's passport. Even though it is against the law to withhold an employee's passport, all major companies withhold their employee's passports. Why cant the government conduct surprise checks or simply ask company employees whether they have their own passports? Or is the law just an eye wash??
Only in PERFECT WORLDTed De Hoff | 2/24/2010 4:30:51 PM This like many other laws, are only as good as the paper they are written on and enforced........... worthless
welcome this articlesunil | 2/23/2010 3:56:50 PM After reading this article we are so pleased in the paper only due to i have been working since 1999 in kuwait a private sector and read more such as news only the paper but unable to impose this rule for company just like a jokes....realy we will see it shall be limited for Paper.
WelcomeShijo Thomas | 2/22/2010 3:03:10 PM Much awaited.. thanks Kuwait Government..
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