I was hired by a local clinic on Sept 1, 2013 and started working as a nurse — although I did not have the Ministry of Health license — on a KD 300 monthly salary. I was locally hired and hold a work permit of Article 18 (position: receptionist).
Earlier on Aug 29, 2013 I had signed the 1st contract, which was an open contract, but on March 1, 2014 the management forced us to sign a new contract in line with their application for ISO (upgrading the clinic) — so everything had to be uniform as they said. We were clearly told that if we did not sign the new contract, we would be terminated.
The 2nd contract has a fixed time for 3 years and valid from the date on which we signed the contract, which is March 1, 2014.
Now have a great opportunity in Qatar and it is for this reason that I wish to leave. I resigned on May 10, 2016 and since I cannot work for the whole notice period of 3 months (in fact only one month), I have informed the clinic that there is no need to pay my 3 years indemnity and my vacation leave pay for 1 month. I have insisted that I have to go by June 9, 2016 because that would be my joining date in Qatar.
If they allow me to go but on the condition they want me to pay for the rest of the contract, until March 2017 (3 years of the contract from March 2013), is it possible that I refuse to pay them.
This is because it’s a big amount besides the fact that I don’t want to work here for three years. I’m a bachelors degree holder and I will not stay in Kuwait and I will be working in another country.
Can you please help me out with my concerns so that at least I can fight back for my rights because there are a lot of reasons to be exempted from the contract even it is for 3 years.
Answer: Before we give you an answer, we would like to draw your attention to articles 47 and 48 of the Kuwait Labor Law enacted on Feb 20, 2010.
Article 47 states that “In event where the term of the work contract is specified and the contract was unrightfully terminated by either party, the terminating party shall compensate the other party provided that the amount of compensation shall not exceed the remuneration of the worker for the remaining period of the contract. “The damage suffered by the parties shall be determined according to the trade custom, the nature of the work, the duration of the contract and in general all considerations that may have an effect on the damage with regard to its existence and extent. All debts due to the other party shall be deducted from the value of the compensation.”
Article 48 states “The worker shall have the right to terminate his work contract without notification and shall be entitled to his end of service benefit in any of the following cases:
a. If the worker does not abide by the terms of the contract or the provisions of the law
b. If the worker is assaulted by or by provocation from the employer or his deputy
c. If continuing work will endanger his safety and health pursuant to the decision of the medical arbitration committee at the Ministry of Health
d. If the employer or his deputy committed an act of cheating or fraud with regard to work conditions upon signing the contract
e. If the employer has accused the worker of committing a punishable act but the final verdict acquitted him f. If the employer of his deputy commits an act that violates public morals against the worker
A close look at the above two articles and various Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor decisions will result in the following observations:
a. You can be made to pay for the uncompleted part of the contract because you have a fixed-term contract
b. You will not only have to pay for the uncompleted part of the contract, you will also have to pay for the uncompleted part of the notification
c. You don’t have any reason for seeking immediate cancellation of your contract because you are only now — after receiving a better offer — talking about being forced to sign the second contract although you have been working in line with the terms and conditions of that particular contract for the last over two years. The company has also not harmed you in any other way
d. You are only entitled to half your indemnity because you have resigned with a service of over three years but less than five years.
From all the above, you will by now have realized that you can’t leave the company nor initiate any action against the firm for not releasing you from the contract.
The company can, however, take you to court for violating the terms and condition of the contract. Your sponsors can also have a travel ban imposed on you if you don’t compensate them … and there is nothing you can do about it because the law is with the clinic in this regard.
And that travel ban will only be lifted if you compensate the clinic or serve out the remaining part of your contract.
The only way you can get out of this situation is by sitting down with your sponsors and amicably finding a solution to the problem.
Force or going to the court or the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor won’t get you anywhere.
So, discuss the issue amicably with your superiors and find a way out of the situation … that is the only route you can take.