The State of Kuwait has wealthy petroleum-based economy.
Its massive oil reserves, and highest valued currency allows its people to enjoy to high living standards. The official language is standard Arabic, although Kuwaiti Arabic is also widely spoken. Nevertheless, the rich culture here attracts more and more expats every year, where expats constitute about 70% of the total population.
Employment contracts should be written in Arabic. If the contract is in another language, an Arabic translation of the employment contract should be provided to both the employer and employee which will be referred to for legal purposes. If the employee is unable to understand the contract or is illiterate, then a certificate is required from the Ministry of Labour. 3 copies should be made of the employment contract, for the employer, the employee, and the competent authority at the Ministry.
The salaries paid are supposed to be in KWD and should be paid according to the contract.
There are 2 types of contracts:
These contracts are no less than 1 year and no more than 5 years. However, it can be extended upon agreement from both parties. If the work continues without renewing the contract, then the contract will convert to an indefinite one.
These contracts have no expiration date and can be terminated by either one of the parties.
Female employees should receive the same pay as that of a male employee who is working for the same job.
The working hours in Kuwait is 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week.
Employees are entitled to 1 hour break during the day and 1 day off during the week. However, some employers give 2-day weekend. During the Holy month of Ramadan, the work hours are reduced to 6 hours per day and 36 hours per week.
Employers are prohibited to employee female employees in services that primarily cater to male clients only. Moreover, female employees cannot work night shifts from 10 pm to 7 am.
Overtime is capped to 2 hours per day and 3 days per week and cannot exceed 90 days/ 180 hours per year. Overtime pay is 125% of the basic rate during workdays. During weekends, the overtime pay is 150% of the basic rate and 200% during public holidays.
There are several types of leaves employees are entitled to such as:
Provided that a medical certificate is provided, employees can receive up to 30 days of paid sick leaves per year. The employee receives full pay for the first 6 days, then 75% of pay for the next 6 days, then 50% pay for the next 6 days and 25% of pay for the next 6 days and unpaid leave for the last 6 days.
Employees are entitled to 14 days paid annual leave after 12 months of service and 21 days after completing 5 years of service. Annual leave payment should be in advance. Annual leave can be accumulated to maximum of 2 years, however, can be extended upon agreement of both parties.
Female employees receive up to 70 days of paid maternity leave and up to 4 months of unpaid maternity leave. Employers are obliged to provide them with 2 hours of nursing break during working hours. Employers with more than 50 male or female employees should provide a day care center. Employers cannot terminate a female employee upon maternity leave provided that the employee handed a medical certificate. Paternal leave is given depending on the employer.
- New Year’s Day
- National Day
- Liberation Day
- Lailat Al Miraj
- Eid Al Fitr
- Eid Al Adha
- Day of Arafat
- Islamic New Year
- Prophet Muhammed’s Birthday
It isn’t mandatory to provide bonuses to employees however, some employers choose to pay bonuses annually. Kuwaitis receive free healthcare from government facilities but may need to pay for special services. Expats are required to pay a yearly fee to use public healthcare.
Employment, Termination and EOSB
Both parties may terminate an employment contract after giving a termination notice. The termination notice period is 3 months for employees who receive salaries monthly and 1 month for all other types of employees. Any party who terminates the contracts without giving a written notice must compensate an amount equal to the salaries accounting for the notice period.
In certain circumstances the employer is allowed to terminate the contract without any compensation/ severance pay or notice period if:
- The employee physically assaults anyone at the workplace
- Continues to breach the contract rules and regulations after being warned in writing.
- Performs unethical behavior, such as fraudulent activities, disclosing trade information, financial crimes etc…
An employee can terminate the contract without losing gratuity pay or providing any notice if:
- The employer doesn’t comply with the employment contract
- If the employer conducts in fraud and misleads the employee regarding the work conditions, payment frequency etc… during negotiations of the contract
- Gives the employee different work that was agreed upon.
- Employer assaults the employee
- Health and safety are compromised.
An employee shall be entitled to an end of service benefit as follows:
- Employee shall be entitled to a 10-day remuneration for each of the first five years of service and a 15 days remuneration for each year thereafter. The total of the end of service benefit shall not exceed one-year remuneration for employees who are paid on daily, weekly, hourly or piecework basis.
- Employee shall be entitled to a 15-day remuneration for each of the first five years of service and one month remuneration for every year thereafter. The total of the end of service benefit should not exceed one-and-a-half-year remuneration for employees who are paid monthly