Kuwait touts law on domestic labor – ‘Up to par’

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KUWAIT CITY, Aug 3: Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports at the Ministry of Interior Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah affirmed that Law No. 68/2015 concerning domestic workers and its internal statute aim to rectify existent drawbacks and general overview of the law, which has not been reviewed for over 15 years.

At a press conference held at the department’s headquarters, Sheikh Mazen pointed said it has become necessary to review and amend laws in a manner that guarantees and protects the rights of all relevant parties. Sheikh Al-Mazen explained the internal statute (executive regulation) of domestic workers law concentrates on activating control on relevant bodies to protect the State of Kuwait’s human rights record and curb human trafficking.

“The law which corresponds with international laws and regulations is also in line with standards of international human rights organizations, as it explains the rights and duties of domestic workers and employees respectively, and stipulates follow up of the course of work,” he noted.

Present at the conference was the Director General of Residency Affairs Major General Talal Al-Marafe, together with Director General of Public Relations and Security Media Department Brigadier Adel Ahmad Al-Hashash.

For his part, Major General Marafe presented statistics of the current figure of domestic workers in the country, stressing 661,414 of them valid documents. He also said the number of residency violators stands at 115,963 of which 62,882 are on Article 20. He mentioned that 14,998 of the total 47,884 absconding reports filed against people involves expired Article 20 residency holders from the top three countries India with 300,024 nationals, Philippines with 156,910, and Sri Lanka 74,044.

He pointed out that statistics clearly indicate the need to issue a comprehensive domestic workers law to rectify loopholes in previous laws and also cover the legislative vacuum in that concern in a manner corresponding with the standards of relevant local and international human rights and labor organizations.

Shedding light on the content of domestic workers Law No. 68/2015, Major General Marafe indicated the law has outlined the relationship between the employer and the employee with the signing of a contract that will be certified by the Department of Domestic Workers at the Ministry of Interior. He noted the minimum salary is set at KD 60 and the age of domestic workers employed should be between 21 and 60 years old.

The law also stipulates end-of-service payment equivalent to a month’s salary per year, and in case the domestic worker’s salary is delayed in violation of agreement, the employee will pay a sum of KD 10 for each month delayed, in addition to the due salary.

The law also requires the domestic worker should not work for more than 12 hours per day within which the worker will take a break. The worker should not be coerced to work outside Kuwait without his or her consent or tasked to serve in places other than the employer’s, and if the articles are breached, the employer will be obliged to return the employee to his or her country at his own expense without deducting from the dues of the domestic worker.

The law also gives the employer the right of full refund within 6 months of signing the contract if the employee declines to honor the content of the contract in terms of performing his/ her responsibilities and duties. In case of dispute, a tribunal is set at the labor department to look into the matter. Dispute settled between the employer and the employee will be included in the latter’s file.

The law also caters for problems of employees seeking refuge in their embassies. This might negatively affect relations between those countries, given that the law guarantees justice for all without favoring anyone.

In his role, Brigadier Al-Hashash pointed out that the press conference interprets keenness of the General Department of Residency Affairs to keep concerned citizens and residents informed about the new developments in this matter, in terms of decisions and regulations.

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