I am working for an international company in Kuwait for the last 5 years and before that I worked for 5 years for the same company in Saudi Arabia with no interruption of my employment contract except the geographical relocation. I did not receive the termination benefits when I left Saudi Arabia.
Now upon my termination, the company is offering me gratuity based only upon my 5 years in Kuwait whereas I have been employed for 10 years by the same company.
The company says it will also pay me a termination gratuity for my time in Saudi Arabia, but each case is based on a 5-year term whereas I would get a higher gratuity if they considered the 10 years as a single term as per the Kuwait Labor Law.
Which is correct, please?
Answer: This all depends on your contract plus the laws of the countries where you have served. You have to read the contract carefully again to understand what all benefits are due to you.
You must also see whether the service according to the contract has to be counted as continuous or separately as you jump from country to country.
Because if nothing is mentioned about the service being continuous then things will be as we elaborate below. Having said that we must mention that the problem here lies in the application of the law because the Kuwait government is only responsible for the service you put in for that firm while in this country, and not for any service that you put in before you arrived at Kuwaiti shores.
You also need to understand that yours is a case of “multiple jurisdictions”, in your case of Saudi Arabia over the first five years of your service and then Kuwait for the remaining period. You must also understand that to work in Kuwait, if you are already working somewhere else in the GCC or to work in any other GCC state if you are already working in Kuwait, you are first required to cancel the contract, work permit and residence of the country where you are currently working.
This means that you must get all your benefits, in full, when you cancel your contract in another GCC country – like Saudi Arabia in your case – before you get a work permit and start working in Kuwait.
So, in the practical application of the GCC laws, your company is right in the calculation of your benefits. In spite of the above, we would advise you to have a close look at you contract – or should we say contracts if you signed one in Saudi Arabia and another one on arrival in Kuwait.
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