Kindly be informed that when I came back from unpaid leave — which I took for almost 5 weeks (I am not entitled to a paid annual leave as I have not completed 9 months in my new company) — I found that my company people were not ready to pay me money related to the period of Eid Al-Fitr (3 days). They said the Eid Al-Fitr days came in the middle of the unpaid leave period.
My understanding is that as per Article 68 of Kuwait Labor Law “Eid days are fully paid holidays” regardless of whether the leave is annual leave or unpaid … accordingly my leave is unpaid for the normal working days and not for official holidays.
Does that also mean an employee can’t avail the public holidays to go out of the country for the first 9 months? Kindly give me your legal opinion on the aforementioned subject.
Answer: Please don’t take articles of the Kuwait Labor Law in isolation nor twist them to suit your purpose. When you take unpaid leave, you are not paid for the official holidays and weekends that fall within this leave.
In fact, even when you are on annual leave, you are not paid for these official holidays or weekends. Weekends and official holidays falling within the unpaid and paid leave are treated in two different ways.
For the information of all our readers we will discuss both the situations.
According to the law, you are entitled to only 30 days paid leave. The only benefit you have in this regard is that all the weekends and official holidays are added to your leave but you are not paid for these nor is any amount deducted from your salary for these holidays being added to your leave.
For example, when you take 30 days annual leave and four weekends plus three Eid holidays fall within those 30 days, you will be entitled to go home for 37 days. But if the company wants you to take only a total of 30 days off, then you will have a balance of 7 days paid leave which you can avail later or add to your next annual leave.
In all cases, your annual leave salary will be calculated as follows:
Monthly salary divided by 26 and then multiplied by your leave (total number of days after deducting the weekends and official holidays).
So, if the above case your sponsor allows you to go for 37 days (including the total 7 weekends and official holidays) then your leave salary will be monthly salary divided by 26 multiplied by 30.
But if you are given a total of 30 days off (including the total 7 weekends and official holidays) then your leave salary will be monthly salary divided by 26 multiplied by 23. And 7 days of your annual leave will remain in balance.
So, you can see that although you may get the extra days off, you don’t get any extra payment for these days.
Things become worse when you take unpaid leave as all the weekends and official holidays that fall within these holidays are counted as part of the unpaid leave.
You neither get any extra days for these official off days nor are you paid for them. Now if you want to avail the official holidays or weekends in isolation whenever you want (even within the first 9 months) this becomes a totally different situation.
Unless the company needs you (in which case it has to pay you overtime), you can leave the country for those days and go where ever you want. Some companies don’t even require you to inform them of your plans but some do, so they can plan for any eventuality just in case they need your services and you are not available.