Pregnancy & Termination

I am in the seventh month of my pregnancy and I have been missing office at least once a week because I am often sick, with a medical certificate to prove my inability to come to office. Now, the company says it cannot tolerate my being away from office and may terminate my services. Can the office do this … because if my services are terminated I will not get a job in another company because of the pregnancy. What can I do? I need the job to meet the expenses of our family. Your advice would be really appreciated

Name withheld
Answer: According to the Kuwait law, the company can’t terminate you because of your pregnancy or because of any absenteeism — as long as you have a medical certificate proving that your illness and the subsequent absence is linked to the pregnancy.

But if you are absent without any medical certificate then the company has the right to dismiss you. In this connection we would like to draw your and company’s attention to the last paragraph of Article 24 of the Kuwait Labor Law enacted on Feb 20, 2010.

The law states “The employer may not terminate the services of a working woman while she is on maternity leave or during her absence from work because of her sickness that is proved by a medical certificate that the sickness resulted from pregnancy or giving birth”.

In view of the above law please remember that if the company has specifically told you that your termination could be linked to the pregnancy you can file a case (when you receive a termination notice) with the Labor Department in your area and request reinstatement until your problems — linked to the pregnancy — are over.

The other alternative you have is to take your maternity leave as soon as your ninth month of pregnancy starts because you can take this leave whenever you want but keep one point in mind — the birth of the child must fall within these 70 days of maternity leave. Please remember that after the maternity leave the law allows you, under the same Article 24 of the Kuwait Labor Law, to take a maximum of four months of unpaid leave to take care of the baby.

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