Draft law to replace Article 14 of Law No. 19/2000
KUWAIT CITY, March 11: Secretary-General of Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP) Fawzi Al-Majdali disclosed that MGRP will present a draft law to toughen penalties for Kuwaiti citizens who receive national labor subsidy based on false claims of being employees of private sector companies, reports Al-Qabas daily. He explained that the draft law is a replacement of Article 14 of law No. 19/2000.
According to the draft law, those convicted of receiving national labor subsidy despite not being employees of any companies in the private sector will be sentenced to three-year imprisonment and/or have to pay fine ranging from KD 1,000 to KD5,000.
The bill also suggests amendment to social allowances and children allowances for employees of the private sector. The allowances for those holding intermediate-level educational certificates will be amended, and they will be obligated to attend a oneyear training course.
Those with lesser qualifications will be obligated to attend a twoyear training course except those with experience working in the private sector for at least the period of the training course. Al-Majdali indicated that the amendments will not badly affect those who have been receiving social allowances since the last amendment unless they stopped working in the private sector.
He affirmed that MGRP takes into consideration the desire of Kuwait Labor Union to put in place a minimum salary limit for Kuwaiti employees of the private sector based on their qualifications and nature of their jobs.
Al-Majdali explained that Article 63 of the private sector labor law No. 6/2010 organizes the issue, and gives minister of Social Affairs and Labor the authority to issue decisions for determining the minimum salary limit every five years based on the infl ation rates and after consulting with the Labor Affairs Consultative Committee and relevant institutions.
This minimum salary limit in the private sector is applicable for both Kuwaiti and expatriate employees. He indicated that MGRP is considering standardizing the benefits provided by the private sector with those provided by the public sector.
Al-Majdali said MGRP intends to issue a decision to prevent termination of services of Kuwaiti employees while they are receiving overseas treatment and to ensure they are provided with the required number of sick leave with full salaries until the end of their treatment.
The concerned employee has to provide medical reports to their employer every three months. The number of days spent for overseas treatment will not be deducted from the annual leave of the Kuwaiti employees unless the treatment period exceeds six months. He said the draft law obligates companies to determine job scales and inform employees about them.
This will be followed by some amendments to contracts including the addition of a clause to affirm that the employee has viewed the detailed job scales. Al-Majdali affirmed that complaints of employees concerning injustice in terms of promotions will be investigated. He stressed that there is a misconception that the salaries in the private sector are lesser than those of the public sector.
However, if for instance, a citizen is appointed in the private sector for a monthly salary of KD 800, he/she will receive monthly labor subsidy of KD 700. So at the end of every month, the private sector employee will be receiving the same salary that employees of the public sector receive.
Regarding the benefit of merging MGRP with Public Authority for Manpower, Al-Majdali said, “This proposal contains several positive aspects, the most important of which is the integration of similar governmental bodies in terms of nature of work and competencies, public interest and developmental objectives of the state”.
He explained that the advantages of merging MGRP and Public Authority for Manpower are —
1. Unifying the competent authorities to prepare effective strategies for general state policies
2. Dealing with the phenomenon of fake national employment
3. Enhancing the capability of the private sector to open employment opportunities and absorb national labor
4. Monitoring the labor market to implement Kuwaitization policy
5. Providing an accurate statistical database that reveals the actual number of workers as well as those unemployed
6. Simplifying the procedures for the services offered by the state to citizens and limiting the documentation processes
Regarding giving equal salaries to both men and women, Al-Majdali said women working in the private sector are entitled to the same salary as their male counterparts if they are doing the same kind of work. He explained that the current law ensures female employees are provided with many benefits, most notably paid leave for pregnant women, which is not calculated from her 70-day delivery leave provided she does not give birth during this period.
Female employees are also entitled to take two-hour break from work every day to feed their newborns based on the conditions set in place by the ministry. In workplaces with more than 50 female employees or more than 200 employees of both genders, the employers are obligated to ensure the establishment of nurseries for their employees’ children who are less than four years of age.