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Wednesday , March 20 2019

Nod to Labor Law amendments – Compensation, assets lien to wronged employee

KUWAIT CITY, June 7: The National Assembly unanimously approved the proposal to amend some articles of Private Sector Labor Law No. 6/2010 in its first and second deliberations on Tuesday.

The amendment bill stipulates replacing Articles 57, 138, 140 and 142 with the following texts: Article 57 states that an employer who hires at least five workers, in accordance with the provisions of this law, should deposit the salaries of his employees into their accounts in local financial institutions, while the Public Authority for Manpower has the right to request for a copy of the payroll statements submitted to these institutions.

It mandates the Council of Ministers to set rules for handling such accounts in terms of expenses, commissions and regulatory measures Article 138 states that without prejudice to any harsher penalty stipulated in other laws, any employer proven to have violated the law shall be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or fined not less than KD 2,000 and not more than KD 10,000 for each worker, or both penalties.

If an employer violates the second paragraph of Article 10 and if the employee works for another employer in violation of the same article, they shall be punished as per the stipulations of the preceding paragraph and without prejudice to the administrative decision on deporting the erring worker.

Article 10 of the law states that the employer shall be prohibited from employing foreign manpower unless the competent authority has granted a permit to work for him.

The minister shall issue a resolution setting forth the procedures, documents and fees that shall be paid by the employer.

In the event of refusal, the action should be justified and the reason for such refusal shall not be related to the amount of capital; otherwise, the decision shall be declared null and void.

The same article states that an employer should not hire workers from outside or inside the country without providing them with jobs in his own entity, or subsequently be found not to have actual need for them.

The employer shall bear the expenses of the worker’s return to his country. In case the worker stops working for his employer and joins the service of another employer, the latter shall bear the cost of the worker’s return to his country once the original sponsor reports that the worker has been absent from work. Article 140 stipulates that without prejudice to a harsher penalty stated in any other law, a fine of not less than KD 500 and not more than KD 1,000 will be imposed on any of the competent officials designated by the minister in case they fail to perform their duties set out in Articles 133 and 134 of this law, and the fine shall be doubled if the violation is repeated.

Article 133 states that the competent employees designated through a resolution from the Minister shall have the capacity of judicial officers to supervise the implementation of this law, bylaws and regulations. These employees shall perform their tasks with loyalty, integrity and neutrality. They shall not divulge secrets of the employers that they might have known due to the nature of their work.

Each employee shall, before the minister, make the following oath: “I solemnly swear to perform my duties with loyalty, neutrality and integrity as well as maintain the confidentiality of information I may have known within the course of my work and until the end of my service.”

Article 134 states that the employees referred to in the preceding article shall have access to the establishments during official working hours in order to inspect their records and registers and request data or information related to the workers. They shall have the right to test and take samples of materials for analysis thereof.

These employees shall have the right to access areas allocated by the employer for labor services, and shall have the authority to use public security force in carrying out their duties. They shall also issue violation tickets to employers and give the latter sufficient time to remedy their violations. They may submit violation tickets to the competent court in order to impose the penalty provided for by this law.

Article 142 stipulates that it is punishable by imprisonment of not less than one month but not exceeding six months and fine of not less than KD 500 and not more than KD 2,000 or either of these two penalties if anyone violates order of suspension or closure issued in accordance with Article 135, without rectifying the irregularities cited by the concerned inspector.

Article 135 states that in the event where employers violate the provisions of Articles 83, 84 and 86 of this law and the resolutions passed in execution hereof in a manner that may threaten the environment, public health or the health and safety of workers, the employees entrusted with the inspection may write violation tickets and submit them to the competent minister who shall cooperate with the competent authority in order to issue a resolution to entirely or partially close the work place, or suspend the use of a specific machine or machines until the violation is remedied.

The amended bill also stipulates adding text to Article 146 as follows: If the court finds the employer to be stubborn in paying the financial privileges of the workers, the employer will be obligated to pay compensation equal to one percent of the total value of benefits for the month that the payment is delayed, as of the date of submission of the application referred to in the first paragraph and the sum awarded is based on Article 145 without prejudice to the worker’s right to claim any other compensation before the court.

Article 145 states that as an exception from Article 1074 of the Civil Law, the rights of the workers granted by the provisions of this law shall have lien over the employer’s movable and immovable properties except his private residence. Such amounts shall be settled after deduction of the judicial fees, amounts due to the treasury as well as preservation and repair expenses.

Meanwhile, the Parliament approved the request of the Public Prosecution to lift the immunity of MP Abdul Hameed Dashti in two cases – electronic media misdemeanor and State security crimes, while it rejected the request to lift the immunity of MP Sultan Al-Shimir in press misdemeanor Case No. 45/2016.

Moreover, the Parliament approved the Pharmacy Profession and Medicine Distribution Draft Law in its second deliberation. Committee Rapporteur MP Saadoun Hammad Al-Otaibi had earlier revealed that the bill stipulates revision of Article Two to read as follows: “A private pharmacy shall not operate without obtaining a license from the Ministry of Health, while the license to open pharmacies shall be granted only to Kuwaiti pharmacists, private hospitals with a capacity of not less than 50 beds and cooperative societies. The license should be in the name of a Kuwaiti pharmacist.”

The revised article also stipulates that the license should not be issued to a pharmacist or cooperative society which will operate more than one pharmacy and the pharmacy should not establish a branch anywhere else.

However, the Ministry of Health may grant more than one license to cooperative societies, which serve more than one residential areas, to open a pharmacy or branch in each area and every license should be issued in the name of a Kuwaiti pharmacist separately.

Al-Otaibi explained that once the revised law is implemented, the private pharmacies which fail to meet the conditions set forth in this law shall be given five years to adjust their status in line with the provisions of this law, whereas the hospital pharmacies and those in cooperative societies will be given one year.

He pointed out the committee also endorsed the proposal to amend Article 17 of the law to read as follows: “A committee shall be formed by the Minister of Health to be headed by the Undersecretary or his deputy whose rank should not be less than that of the assistant undersecretary while the members include two assistant undersecretaries, head of the Pharmacy Society or his deputy and a member of the Legal Department in the ministry. This committee will look into violations or offenses other than those mentioned in Articles 14 and 15 of the law.

The revised article also states that the committee has the right to impose penalties including the issuance of a warning, suspension from work for a period not exceeding one year, cancellation of the license, removal of the name from the registry and closure of the pharmacy for a period not exceeding six months.

Furthermore, the Parliament unanimously approved, in its second deliberation, the proposal to amend the Penal Code to allow anybody who have been banned from traveling to file a complaint regarding this decision. Also, in response to the request of the government, represented by State Minister for National Assembly Affairs Ali Al-Omair, agreed to refer the bill amending Kuwait Municipality Law back to the Public Utilities Committee for further study.

The bill has been amended to include a stipulation on the Municipality being an independent public authority headquartered in Kuwait City, with a legal personality and subject to the supervision of the competent minister. The amended version also states that the Municipal Council members must hold university degrees. In addition, State Minister for Municipality Affairs Essa Al-Kandari affirmed that the government insists on the issuance of a decree, not a law, if new areas will be added to a district.

By Abubakar A. Ibrahim and Ahmed Al-Naqeeb Arab Times Staff

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