New Kuwait Private Sector Labor Law Detailed
Explanatory Memorandum to the Private Sector Labor Law
With the discovery of oil in Kuwait and what followed after the social, economic and social changes, new work procedures began to emerge. It was then natural for the lawmakers to organize these procedures in accordance with their nature and the spirit of work to cope with the modern civilization, which prevail the entire aspects of life.
From this point, it has become necessary to think about issuing to labor law for the private sector to organize relations between laborers and employers, as it has a positive impact on the national output on one hand, and copes with international tendencies on the other hand, as they pay much concern to the labor class.
The first law which organized labor in Kuwait emerged in 1959. This law was modified through Amiri decree number 43 of 1960 and through law number 1 of 1960, then it led to the its cancellation through law number 38 of 1964, concerning labor in the private sector.
In fact, this law underwent several modifications aimed at granting special merit to laborers in the Oil Sector through law number 43 of 1968, which added a new chapter – number 16 concerning the recruitment of laborers in the oil industry.
Law number 28 of 1969 was issued to cancel this chapter to replace it with a report of merits for personnel in the petroleum sector. This law became the main legislation which controls labor relations, paving the way to the issuance of law number 38 of 1964 governing laborers in the private sector. However, law number 28 of 1969 is also applicable to the petroleum sector in line with what was mentioned in the definition and verdicts issued on this law.
The labor law is aimed at basically ensuring a balance between the good of the laborers and protecting the interests of employers as such a balance has a positive impact on national output in general.
Since many social and economic changes have emerged in the Kuwaiti community, modification of the existing law became necessary.
In addition, the Arab and International fields have witnessed new developments, which cannot be ignored, especially since Kuwait is one of the countries that import expatriate laborers, therefore, it has become urgent to amend law number 38 of 1964 to adapt to the new changes, especially since it has been in effect for several decades.
Thinking seriously to modify this law, two tendencies emerged – the first aims to modify some texts of the existing law in accordance with the consequences of the economic and social changes.
The second aims to issue a new law that matches the current phase and latest developments, stipulating the need to take into consideration, while preparing the proposal, the importance of a clear vision for the future and the need to replace expatriate workers with national personnel. It is one of the main goals the country needs to achieve.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor prepared the draft law, considering the labor laws in the region, as well as the international and Arab agreements and modern juristic tendencies and judicial principles settled by the Kuwaiti Courts under the current law.
In addition, several consequent committees have been formed by the ministry, in coordination with the employers represented by Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) and laborers represented by Kuwait Trade Union Federation to study the law.
Moreover, the draft law has been discussed and some of its articles were modified through several sessions held in this regard to pave the way for its approval in a form, which includes a clear vision for the future, to avoid recurrence of the current shortage and place Kuwait on the right path, among the countries with advanced labor laws.To achieve the target with integrity, an agreement has been reached to assess the opinion of the concerned government authorities, represented by the Public Authority for Housing Welfare; ministries of Commerce, Industry, Health, Justice and Oil; Higher Council for Planning and Development, Kuwait Municipality, Kuwait University, Public Authority for Social Security, Public Authority for Applied Education and Training, Civil Service Commission, and the secretariat-general for manpower.
A committee was formed to address these authorities and present a half-finalized text of the proposal to consider their recommendations for the final revision. These authorities responded positively as they provided the committee with plausible recommendations, leading to the re-reading of the articles of the draft law, one by one, to paraphrase articles in line with the recommendations, as well as the creation of new paragraphs, if necessary.
As part of its keenness to comply with what has been mentioned and approved through the international agreements, especially those signed and approved by Kuwait, the ministry sought the assistance of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Besides, ILO provides technical assistance to member countries to revise some of the texts.
The draft law includes seven chapters. The first is for general rules, the second organizes the rules on usage and career training, the third deals with the contract of individual work, the fourth deals with the system and conditions of labor, the fifth deals with group labor relations, the sixth deals with labor inspection and penalties, and seventh chapter deals with the concluding rules.
The proposal includes new rules on granting more warrantees to the two parts of production by ensuring justice and stability on the labor relations side and complying with similar legislations abroad, specially the international and Arab agreements signed and approved by Kuwait.
Following is the full text of the Kuwait Labor Law for the private sector which was passed by the National Assembly recently. The law has still to be approved by the Kuwait Cabinet before it is sent to HH the Amir for his endorsement. It will then be published in the Kuwait Gazette and only after that it becomes effective.
Chapter 1 – General Rules
Article 1: in the application of the rules of this law the following terms mean:
X :-Ministry: Ministry of Social Works and Labor
X :-Minister: minister of Social Affairs and Labor
X :-Employee: any male or female who performs manual or mental work for an employer (under his management and supervision) against a wage
X :-Employer: every natural or legal person who uses employees against a wage
X :-Organization: any unit that gathers employees or employers with similar or related work, professions or jobs, which protects their interests or rights and represents them in matters related to their affairs.
Article 2: rules of this law apply to employees in the private sector.
Article 3: rules of this law apply to marine work contract in case a stipulation in this respect is not mentioned in the marine commercial law or the stipulation in this law is more beneficial to the employee.
Article 4: rules of this law apply to the oil sector in case a stipulation in this respect is not mentioned in the labor law for workers at the oil sector or the stipulation in this law is more beneficial to the employee.
Article 5: rules of this law are not applicable to the following:
X :-Employees covered by other laws as per the stipulations therein.
X :-Domestic workers as the concerned minister will issue a decision concerning their affairs in accordance with the rules governing their relations with the employers.
Article 6: rules of this law represent minimum level of employees’ rights without prejudice to better privileges granted to workers covered by individual or group employment contracts or special regulations or bylaws being observed by the employees or according to the rules governing their profession or general customs.
Chapter 2 – Employment (Using), Apprenticeship and Professional Training
Section One: Employment
Article 7: the minister shall issue decisions to organize conditions of employment (use) in the private sector in accordance with the following:
X :-Conditions for the transfer of laborers from one employer to another
X :-Conditions for employers to allow their employees to work for some time with another employer.
X :-Statements that must be forwarded to the ministry concerning the government employees who are allowed to work for other employers after the official work hours in the public sector.
X :-Jobs and professions employees should engage in unless they pass professional examinations according to the regulations set by the ministry in coordination with other concerned authorities.
Article 8: every employer should inform the concerned authority about the needs of his employees. He should submit an annual report to the concerned authority on the total number of employees under him, using a prepared format in accordance with the rules and regulations specified in a decision issued by the ministry.
Article 9: the Public Authority for Labor Force with a corporate body and separate budget shall be established under the supervision of the minister of social affairs and labor. It will be in charge of the authorities granted to the minister under this law, as well as the recruitment of expatriate workers as per the manpower demands of employers. A law to regulate it will be issued within a year from the date of working with this law.
Article 10: employers are prohibited from hiring foreign workers unless they obtain a permit from the concerned authority. The minister shall issue a decision on the procedures, documents and fees that employers should complete. In case of rejection, reasons behind the decision must be specified. Amount of capital should be the reason for rejection; otherwise, the decision is null and void.
Employers are not allowed to recruit workers from outside or in the country without providing them jobs. Employers must bear the costs for the workers’ return to their home countries. In case the worker resigns to join another company, the latter should bear the costs for the worker’s return to his home country when the original sponsor files a missing report against the worker.
Article 11: the ministry and other concerned authorities should not engage in any form of discrimination or preferential treatment in dealing with employers, concerning the processing of work permits or transfer applications regardless of the reasons or justification. For regulative purposes, the ministry can stop issuance or transfer of work permits for a period of not more than two weeks in a year, but it should be applicable to all employers. Any behavior contrary to this article is considered null and void.
Section Two: Apprenticeship and Professional Training
Article 12: a professional apprentice is every person aged 15 years who signs a contract with the establishment to learn a profession within a specific period in accordance with the rules and regulations that he agreed upon. Unless a special stipulation in this regard is mentioned in this chapter, the special rules for employing juveniles mentioned in this law are applicable to professional apprenticeship contracts.
Article 13: professional apprenticeship contracts should be written and issued in three copies, one each for both parties and the third shall be referred to the concerned authority at the ministry within a week for attestation. The profession, training period, stages and wage in a progressive form at every stage of learning should be mentioned in the contract. In the last stage, the minimum wage should not be less than the wage set for a similar job. It is not right, under any circumstance, to specify the wage based on production or piecework.
Article 14: the employer can terminate the apprenticeship contract if the apprentice fails to fulfill the stipulated duties or it is established in the periodic report that he is not ready to learn the job. The apprentice has also the right to terminate the contract. Any party that wishes to end the contract must notify the other on or before seven days.
Article 15: professional training includes the theoretical and practical programs to give workers the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills or under go on-the-job training to enhance their abilities, raise their production capacity, prepare them for certain professions or transfer them to others. Training takes place in institutes, centers or establishments for this purpose.
Article 16: The minister, in cooperation with the concerned academic and professional authorities, shall set up necessary conditions for holding professional training programs and specify the training period, theoretical practical program, examination system, and certificates given in this regard and the statements therein.
This decision requires the establishment of one or more training centers for the workers. Companies should then provide training for the workers in centers, institutes or other establishments if they have no training center or institute.
Article 17: The establishments, subject to the rules of this chapter, are obliged to pay the worker his full wage during the training period either in or outside the establishment.
Article 18: The professional apprentice or trainee worker is obliged, after completing his training, to work with the employer within the same period he underwent apprenticeship or training or a minimum of 5 years. If he violates this agreement, the employer has the right to demand compensation for the training expenses or the remaining period he has to complete the work, which is excluded from the training period and is not more than three months .
Section Three: Employing Juveniles
Article 19: It is prohibited to employ those below 15 years old.
Article 20: With the permission of the ministry, it is allowed to employ juveniles, aged 15 years and those who have not reached 18 years under the following conditions:
X :-Their employment should not be in factories or professions that are dangerous or harmful to their health according to the decision of the minister.
X :-Signing a medical report for them before joining the work and after that on a regular basis, not exceeding six months. The minister shall issue a decision to determine these factories and professions, as well as the procedures and periods for submission of the medical report.
Article 21: The minimum work hours for juveniles is six hours daily, with a condition not to let them work for more than four hours straight, followed by a rest period (break) of not less than an hour. It is prohibited to let them work overtime or during weekly rest days, official holidays or from 7: 00 pm to 6:00am.
Section Four: Employing women
Article 22: It is prohibited to employ women at night – from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am. This excludes hospitals, sanatoriums, other private treatment homes and establishments for which the minister of social affairs and labor will issue a decision. The work site should comply with all the conditions mentioned in this article by ensuring the security of women and providing them with means of transportation to and from the workplace. Work hours during Ramadan are excluded from the rules of this article.
Article 23: It is prohibited to employ women in hazardous jobs or those that are harmful to their health. It is also prohibited to let them engage in jobs that defy the morality code and exploit their womanhood. They should not work in institutions which provide services exclusive for men.
A decision to determine such jobs will be issued by the minister of social affairs and labor after consulting the Consultative Committee for Labor Affairs and the concerned organization
Article 24: A pregnant woman will get a 70-day paid leave, not included in her other leaves, for delivery on the condition that she gives birth within this period.
After completing the maternity leave, the employer can grant a working woman, based on her request, leave of not more than four months without pay to care for the baby.
The employer should not terminate a working woman while she is on such leaves or if she took sick leave due to an illness caused by pregnancy or delivery as per a medical report issued by her attending physician.
Article 25: Working women are entitled to a two-hour break during work hours to nurse their babies in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the ministry’s decision. The employer must establish a nursery for children below four years old if he has more than 50 female workers or not more than 200 men.
Article 26: A working woman deserves a similar wage granted to men if she is engaged in the same job.
Chapter 3 – Individual work contract
Section One: Work Contract Structure
Article 27: anyone who has reached 15 years is qualified to sign a work contract if the period is not specified. If the period is specified, it should not exceed one year so he will reach 18 years.
Article 28: the work contract should be written on paper and contain the date of signing and execution of the contract, value of wage, period of the contract if it is specified, and nature of work. It should be issued in three copies, one for each party and the third will be kept at the concerned authority in the ministry. If the work contract is not written on paper, it is considered existent (correct) and the employer in this case can exercise his right through all means of confirmation.
It is not right to reduce the wage of the worker during the validity of the contract, whether it has specific period or not. The employee has no right to assign a worker to carry out any task that is not consistent with nature of the work stated in the contract or suitable to the qualifications and expertise with which the contract was signed.
Article 29: contracts shall be written in Arabic and translations to other languages can be added to it, with Arabic as binding in case of discrepancies. Rules of this article are applicable on the correspondence, publications, bylaws and the circulars that the employer issues to his workers.
Article 30: If the period of the work contract is specified, it should not exceed five years and not less than a year. The contract can be renewed after the specified period ends through an agreement between both parties.
Article 31: if the period of the work contract is specified and both parties continue implementing it after completion of the period without renewal, it is considered renewed for a similar period with the same conditions, unless the two parties agree to renew it under other conditions. In all cases the renewal should not alter the employment privileges mentioned in the previous contract.
Section Two: Obligations and penalties for employees and employers
Article 32: Probation period of the worker shall be specified in the work contract, but it should not exceed 100 working days. Each party can end the contract during the probation period with prior notice. If the employer ends the contract, he should pay wages to the worker at the end of the service in accordance with rules of this law. It is not right to require the worker to be on probation under the same employer more than once. The minister shall issue a decision to organize the rules and regulations at work during the probation period.
Article 33: If the employer signed a contract with another – a subcontractor – to carry out a certain task or part of it outside under one work condition. The one given the contract should treat his workers and those of the original employer equally in terms of granting rights and each of them should agree in this regard.
Article 34: The employer (contractor) must commit to the execution of a government project or use his employees in areas far from the residential sections. He must provide suitable accommodation to the workers, in addition to means of transportation for those residing in far-flung areas free of charge. In case he cannot provide an accommodation, he should give the employees accommodation allowance. The minister will specify the far-flung areas, conditions of suitable accommodation and accommodation allowance.
In other cases when the employer is required to provide accommodation for workers, rules of the decisions stipulated in the previous paragraph on conditions of suitable accommodations and specification of accommodation allowance shall be applicable to him.
Article 35: The employer must hang, in a clear place at the work site, the punishments bylaws that should be enforced on the violating workers. In the punishments bylaw the following should be considered:
X :-The violations which may occur from the workers and their punishments should be specified .
X :-Should include a list of punishments for specified violations
X :-More than one punishment should not enforced for one violation.
X :-The worker should not be punished for any act he committed after 15 years of the date of the act was detected
X :-The worker should not be punished for an act he committed outside his work site , except if it has connection with the work
Article 36: The employer should send the punishment bylaws to the Ministry before implementing them. The ministry must amend these in accordance with nature of the establishment or nature of the work as per the rules of this law.
The ministry must present the bylaws to the concerned organization, if any. And if there is no concerned organization, then general union will be resorted to for observations and suggestions on these bylaws.
Article 37: No punishment should be enforced to the worker unless he or she is informed in writing what he or she is accused of. The employer should hear the employee’s explanation and confirm his or her defense. The worker should be also be informed in writing of the punishment, its type, its reasons and amounts applied on the worker and the punishment which he will face in case of doing the same again.
Article 38: Deductions should not apply to wages of the employee for a period of more than 5 days in a month. If the punishment exceeds that the added deduction should be from wage of the next month or the following month.
Article 39: The worker cannot be stopped from working for a period of not more than 10 days during an investigation that the employer is conducting. If the investigation is completed and the employee is not held liable for any violation, then worker must be paid his or her wage for the period of stoppage.
Article 40: The employer should put the deductions from wages of employees in a fund allocated for use in social, economic and cultural fields which benefits the workers. In case the company is liquidated, the existing deductions in fund should be distributed to the workers who were working at the time of the liquidation, one period for each.
Section Three: End of Work Contract and End of Service Benefit
Article 41: In observance of the rules of article (37) of this law:-
X :-The employer can terminate a worker without notification , compensation or wages if the worker committed any of the following deeds:
1- If the worker committed a mistake that resulted to huge loss for the employer.
2- If it is established that the worker obtained the work as result of cheating or fraud.
3- If the worker reveals secrets of the establishment which caused or would have caused real losses.
n The employer can fire the worker in one of the following cases :
1- If he is accused of a crime that relates to honor, trust or morality.
2- If he committed an act that breaches general morality at the work site.
3- If he committed assault on one of his colleagues or on the employer or his deputy during work or because of it.
4- If he breached any of the obligations imposed on him with the contract and rules of this law.
5- If he is proven to have repeatedly violated instructions of the employer. In this case the decision of firing does not mean depriving the worker from end of service benefit.
X :-The employee who is fired for one of the situations mentioned in this article has right to challenge the firing decision at the concerned labor division (court) in accordance with the procedures stated in this law. If it is established, according to final verdict that the employer was wrong in firing his worker the latter deserves end of service benefits and a compensation for material and moral damages he or she suffered.
In all cases the employer should inform the ministry of the firing decision and its reasons, and the ministry should take charge of informing Government Restructuring Manpower
Article 42: If the employee stops going to work for 7 consecutive days or 20 separate days within a year without acceptable reasons, the employer has the right to consider him legally retired. In this case rules of article 53 of this law are applicable in terms of worker deserving the end of service benefits.
Article 43: If the worker is arrested or detained due to accusatioins of the employee for uncompleted court verdict, he is considered stopped from work. The employer has no right to end his contract, except if he is convicted with a complete verdict.
If a verdict is issued acquitting him from the accusation the employee must pay his wage for the period he was stopped with fair compensation to be estimated by the court.
Article 44: If the work contract has no specified period both parties have the right to end it after notifying other party and the notification should be as follows;
X :-Before completing the contract with a 3 month notice at least for the worker on a monthly wage.
X :-Before completing the contract with a months notice at least for other workers. If the party who ends the contract did not take in to account the period of the notification then he must pay the other party for the notification period equal to wage of the worker
X :-It the notification for ending the contract is from the employer, the worker has right to absent full one day in the week or 8 hours during the week, so as to search for other work, and he deserves a wage for one day or the hours of absence. The worker should specify day or hours of absence with condition to notify the employer about that at least in the previous day of the absence.
X :-The employer should relieve the employee of work during the period of notification and count as work service until such period is completed.
Article 45: The employer cannot use right of ending the contract in accordance with the previous article when the worker is enjoying one of the leaves stipulated in this law
Article 46: It is prohibited to end service of the worker without any justification or because of syndicate activity or because he is wanted or enjoying his or her legal rights as per rules of law. Also it is prohibited to end service of the worker because of gender, race or religion.
Article 47: If the work contract has a specified period and one of the parties ends it illegally, he must compensate the other party for damages. The amount of the compensation should not exceed the wage of the worker for the remaining period of the contract.
Article 48: The worker can terminate his employment contract without notifying on his end of service payments in any of the following cases:
X :-If the employer does not enforce the terms of the contract or violates the labor law.
X :-If the employer or his deputy insults him or the employer encourages such acts.
X :-If continuous work puts his health and safety at risk as per the decision of the medical judgment committee at the Ministry of Health.
X :-If employer or his deputy cheats in terms of the contract at the initial signature period.
X :-If the employer accuses the worker of committing mistakes punishable through criminal penalties and court clears the worker.
X :-If the employer or his deputy commits unethical or immoral actions against the worker.
Article 49: The employment contract gets terminated if the worker dies or becomes disabled, thereby, preventing him from carrying out his duties or sickness which prevents him from reporting back to work, as per a medical report from the official department.
Article 50: The employment contract ends under the following conditions:
X :-If an official decision is issued declaring bankruptcy of the employer.
X :-Permanent closure of the company.
X :-If the company merges with another or transferred to another owner or any other legal move by the company, the employment contract remains active and the new owner should grant current privileges to the workers.
Article 51: The employee has right to receive end of service pay as follows:
X :-The worker gets indemnity equal to 10 days salary every year during the first five years, and 15 days the following years. Total payment should not be more than one-year salary for employees who get paid on daily, weekly, hourly or per job basis.
X :-Indemnity of 15 days for the first five years, and one month salary for the following years. Total payment should not be more than the one-year salary and half for employees paid on monthly basis.
The worker is entitled to benefits for a fraction of the year, according to the service period and it will be deducted from the end of services benefits, including the loans and credits. The Social Security Law is considered in this regard, and the employer should pay the difference between the amount due to the worker from the social security and the indemnity.
Article 52: Referring to Articles 45 of this law the worker deserves end of service benefits mentioned in the earlier articles under the following conditions:
X :-If the employer ends the contract.
X :-If a closed contract ends without being renewed.
X :-If the contract ends according to Articles 48, 49 and 50 of this law.
n If the female worker ends the contract because of marriage a year after the wedding.
Article 53: The worker is entitled to half of the end of service pay mentioned in Article 51 if the worker ends the open employment contract, and his years in service are not less than three years and less than five years. If the period of service reaches five years and less than 10 years, the worker gets two thirds of the benefits and if the service reaches 10 years the worker gets full benefit.
Article 54: The worker who terminates his employment contract has right to get end of service certificate from the employer showing his services, work and last salary he received. The employer has no right to include any derogatory remarks about the employee or any statement that limits his chances in the labor market. The employer should return all the documents like academic certificates the worker submitted during the recruitment period.
Chapter 4 – On System and Work Conditions
Section One: The Salary
Article 55: Salary means the basic payment the worker receives or whatever the worker receives against his service. This should include all terms mentioned in the employment contract, without removing the social and children allowances mentioned in law number 19/2000 included in the salary, in addition to the payment the worker receives periodically like allowances and benefits.
If the worker receives his share from the returns of the company and it incurs losses or earns minimal profits, then the salary should be paid according to the market standards and profession of the employee.
Article 56: salaries are paid during one of the working days with the country’s currency, taking into consideration the following:
X :-Laborers who are paid monthly should get their salaries at least once a month
X :-Other laborers get their salaries at least once every two weeks
Salary payment should not be delayed until after the seventh day of the due date.
Article 57: the employer who appoints laborers according to this law should pay the laborers’ salaries to their accounts in local financial establishments. He should also send a copy of the list of names that are sent to these establishments to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.
A decision from the Council of Ministers will be issued based on the representation of the ministers of Social Affairs and Labor, and Finance to identify these sectors and the regulations concerning dealing with these accounts in terms of expenditures, commissions and the organizational procedures in this regard.
Article 58: the employer is not allowed to transfer an employee who is paid on a monthly basis to another section without a documented agreement on the transfer and without violating the rights the employee has acquired by working with a monthly salary.
X :-It is not accepted to deduct more than 10 percent of the employee’s salary as loan or debt payment to the employer, and he should not get any interest.
X :-It is prohibited to hold back the due salary of laborers or deduct more than 25 percent of the salary. The deduction should be within 25 percent of the salary for expenditure, food, clothing or other loans, including loans obtained from the employer. In case of accumulated loans, the expenditure loan should be prioritized.
Article 60: laborers should not be required to buy foodstuffs or commodities from stores or other products owned by the employer.
Article 61: the employer should pay the laborers’ salaries during the closure period, if he needs to close the establishment to force the laborers to give in to his demands. He should also pay the salary of laborers during the time the establishment is closed completely or partially for any reason that is not related to the laborers, as long as the employer wishes them to maintain their positions.
Article 62: To calculate the payment of a laborer, what should be taken into consideration is the last due salary. If the laborer gets paid based on piece work, his salary is defined by the average of what he has got during the actual working days in the last three months. The material and financial privileges are evaluated by dividing the average of what the laborer has already gained during the last 12 months by the salary. If the years of service at the work place is less than a year, the average is calculated according to the percentage of the period he spent in service. The laborer’s salary should not be decreased for any reason during the time he is in service.
Article 63: The Minister has to issue a decision after a maximum of every five years, in which he determines the minimum limit of salaries based on the nature of professions and industries. While doing that, he should consider the inflation percentage that the country goes through. This should be done after discussing the issue with the Advisory Committee for Labor Affairs and the concerned organizations.
Section Two:Working hours and weekends
Article 64: It is forbidden to have employees work more than 48 hours per week or 8 hours a day, except for cases stated in this law. The working hours in the month of Ramadan should be 36 hours per week. This item should not conflict with Article 21 of this law.
However, it is allowed to decrease the working hours in exhausting jobs or jobs of a harsh or health harming nature based on a ministerial decision.
a) It is not allowed to have employees working for more than five consecutive hours without a break not less than an hour that is not included in the working hours.
n Financial, commercial and investment sectors have exceptions to have workers work for eight hours continuously.
b) After the approval of the Minister, laborers can work without a break for technical and emergency reasons in office work ; under the condition that the total of the daily working hours should be one hour less than what was stated in Article 64.
Article 66: Without violating Articles 21 and 64 of this law, it is allowed for the job employer to have employees work for extra time if the necessity arises. This should be done through written instructions for the purpose of stopping a dangerous accident or repair of damage or avoiding a definite lose or having a unusual work load. The extra working hours should not exceed more than two hours a day fir a maximum of 180 hours a year. In addition, it is not accepted for extra work to be more than three days a week and 90 days a year. This will still be the right of laborers to prove that they were assigned extra work and they can use any means to prove their right. The laborer has the right to get paid 25 percent for the extra time he has worked , which should be more than his regular payment at the same period of time. This payment should be inline with Article 56 of this law. The employer should keep a special record for the overtime that shows the dates, days, hours of overtime and the payment for the work the laborer was assigned.
Article 67: The employee has the right to have a paid weekend that is 24 continuous hours after six working days. In case of emergencies at work, the employer can call the laborer for work during his weekend. The laborer should get at least 50 percent of his salary, in addition to his regular salary. The laborer can take another day off instead of the one on which he worked.
X :-The previous paragraph does not affect the evaluation of the laborer’s right including his daily payment and off days. The calculation of his right is by dividing his salary by the actual working days without including the weekends, although these weekends are paid.
Article 68: paid official holidays for laborers:
a) Hijri New Year 1 day
b) Israa and Mieraj day 1 day
c) Eid Al-Fitr 2 days
d) Standing by Arafah 1 day
e) Al-Adha Eid 2 days
f) Mawlid Al-Nabi 1 day
g) National Day 1 day
h) Liberation Day 1 day
i) New Year 1 day
X :-If the necessity arises to have the employee work during the previously mentioned days, he should get a double salary plus a compensation of this day.
X :-With consideration of Article 24 of this law, the laborer has the right to get the following sick leaves during the year:
X :-15 days full salary
X :-10 days three quarters of the salary
X :-10 days half salary
X :-10 days quarter of salary
X :-30 days without salary
Article 69: The laborer should provide a medical report from the doctor at the work place or the official doctor at government medical centers. In case there is a conflict regarding the need to get a sick leave or its duration, then the doctor in the government medical center is allowed to do so .
As for serious diseases, an special decision should be issued by the concerned minister, in which he should identify the kind of serious disease.
Section 3: Paid Annual Leave
Article 70: The employee has a 30-day paid annual leave. However, during the first year of work, the employee is not eligible to apply for leave except after at least 9 months of service at the work place. Official holidays and sick leaves are not counted with the annual leave. The laborer deserves leaves on the fractions of the year according to the period he spent at the work place, even if the first year is included.
Article 71: The laborer gets paid for his annual leave before going on leave.
Article 72: The employer has the right to determine the timing of the annual leave, and he can divide it after the first 14 days of it based on the approval of the laborer.
Moreover, the laborer has the right to accumulate his leave , but not more than his leave for two years . After the approval of the employer, he can take his accumulated leave all at once. The annual leave can be accumulated for more than two years with the two sides’ approval.
Article 73: Without violating Articles 70 and 71, the employee has the right to get financial payment for all his annual leaves that were not availed during his service when his contract ends.
Article 74: Without violating Article 72, it is not allowed for the laborer to give up his annual leave with or without compensation. The employer should get back what he paid for the laborer if he proved to be working with another employer.
Article 75: The employer can grant the employee a paid academic leave to obtain a higher degree, under the condition that he should work for the employer for a period of time that equals the leave duration that should not be more than 5 years. In case the employee violates this condition, he should return the payment he has already got during the academic leave.
Article76: The laborer who spent two continuous years with the same employer can get a paid leave for 21 days to perform Hajj, if he did not perform Hajj before.
Article 77: In case of a first and second degree relative’s death, the employee has the right to get a three-day leave with full salary.
For the working Muslim woman, whose husband dies, she can take iddat leave with full salary for four months and ten days from the date of death. During this leave, she should not practice and work for another work place. The conditions of issuing this leave should be organized by a decision by the minister. The non-Muslim female employee whose husband dies gets a 21 days paid leave.
Article 78: The employer can give a paid leave to employees to attend conferences and annual meetings. The minister issues a decision that includes the conditions and regulations regarding granting this leave.
Article 79: The employer is allowed to grant his employee special leave, other than mentioned in this chapter, without pay.
Chapter four – Safety and Career Health
Section One: Rules on maintaining safety and career health
Article 80: Each employer must maintain a file for each laborer, including copies of the laborer’s work permit, work contract, civil ID, documents related to annual vacation and sick leaves, overtime hours, work-related injuries and diseases, penalties imposed on the laborer, date of ending his duty, reasons for ending his duty, and copies of receipts and other related documents like employment certificates the laborer has submitted to the employer and he should get them back after the end of his duty.
Article 81: Each employer has to keep career safety registers in line with types and regulations for which a decision is issued.
Article 82: The employer has to hang in a conspicuous location at the work headquarters a bylaw accredited by the concerned labor department, including the daily work hours, break, weekend and official holidays.
Article 83: The employer has to take all the precautionary procedures to protect laborers, machines and substances used in the institution, and the places they occasionally visit, in addition to providing safety and career health systems required in this regard or that for which a decision is issued by the concerned minister after considering the opinion of relevant authorities.
Article 84: The employer has to clarify to the laborer before starting work the risks he may face at work; in addition to the precautionary measures that should be taken.
Moreover, the minister is to issue decisions concerning instructions and cautioning marks placed in conspicuous areas at the work site, besides the tools of personal safety which the employer has to provide in various activities.
Article 85: The minister, after seeking opinion of concerned authorities, shall issue a decision to specify types of activities that require provision of equipment and occupational safety methods for employees in factories. This is in addition to selection of specialists or technicians to monitor level of availability of health and safety equipment, while the decision shall specify criteria and duties of those technicians and specialists, in addition to their training programs.
Article 86: The employer should take necessary precautions to protect the employee from health hazards and occupational diseases, which could arise from practicing the occupation, while he should provide first aid treatment and medical services. The minister, after seeking opinion of the Health Ministry, shall issue decisions to regulate precautions, as well as list of occupational and industrial diseases.
Article 87: The employer should implement preventive measures and promise to try his best to provide care and follow health and safety instructions to protect the employee from any kind of occupational diseases and hazards.
Article 88: Considering provisions of the social security law, an employer should insure his employees with relevant companies against injuries and occupational hazards.
Section Two: Concerning injuries and occupational hazards
Article 89: While applying provisions of law concerning labor injuries, according to the social security law, the insured people shall be subjected to provisions guiding labor injuries and occupational hazards.
Article 90: If an employee is involved in an accident due to his work, while performing duties, on the way to work or returning from work, the employer should report the incident immediately he knows about it, depending on the following situation:
X :-Nearest police station to the office
X :-Nearest labor office to the office
Public Authority for Social security or the concerned insurance company, while the employer or his representative can report the incident.
Article 91: Considering law number 1/1999 on the health insurance of expatriates and requiring them to pay certain fees for the health services they use, the employer should provide the required health services to an employee if he gets injured during working hours or falls sick due to his job – in government or private hospitals, including medicine and transportation expenses. The attending physician should submit a report on the period the employee requires treatment, extent of disability caused by the injury, and when the employee can report back to work.
Both the employee and employer have the right to contest the medical report within a month from the date of issuance at the Medical Judgment Committee in the Ministry of Health.
Article 92: every employer should provide a report on the accidents at job sites and work-related illnesses in the company/entity to the Ministry of Health periodically. The minister will specify a period for the submission of this report.
Article 93: an employee who suffers from an injury or work-related illness has right to demand his salary during the medication period, specified by the attending physician. If the treatment period is extended for another six months, the employee will receive half the salary until he completely recovers.
Article 94: the employee or his beneficiaries has right to demand compensation for the injury or the illness according to a list issued by the minister after receiving the recommendation of the Ministry of Health. The list will explain the illness and injuries, as well as the corresponding compensation.
Article 95: the employee has no right to claim compensation if the investigation results show that:
X :-The employee has intentionally injured himself.
X :-The employee sustained injuries due to his bad behavior like consuming alcohol or drugs, violating safety regulations at work, or if the injury or illness was caused by an activity outside the workplace. Exceptions include if the injury or illness resulted in death of the employee or 25 percent disability.
Article 96: if the employee exhibits symptoms of work-related illness one year after his resignation, articles 93, 94 and 95 will be applicable to him.
X :-The medical report or Medical Judgment Committee defines the condition of the employee who suffered and the responsibility of former employers in the illness or injury – based on the period of time the employee served each employer – and whether the nature of the job caused the illness or not.
X :-The employee or his beneficiaries will receive the compensation according to Article 94 from the Public Authority for Social Security (PASS) or accredited insurance company, and the compensation will be divided based on the first paragraph of this article.
Chapter 5 – Social Relations
Section One:The Workers Union, Employers and Rights of Syndicates
Article 98: right to establish unions for employers and workers is guaranteed by this law, the conditions of which is applicable to workers in the private and public sectors, as long as it does not contradict other laws that organize their affairs.
Article 99: Kuwaiti workers have right to form syndicates that protect their interest, work on improving their financial and social status, and represent them in all operations related to them. Employers has also right to form unions for the same purposes.
Article 100: Procedures for establishing such organizations are as follows:
X :-Number of employees or employers who are willing to establish a union should meet in the form of a general assembly, which should be announced in daily newspapers for a minimum of two weeks before the meeting date. The location and goals of the meeting should be mentioned in the announcement.
X :-The general assembly decides the internal regulations of the union. Decision of the minister related to the subject should be used as a guide.
X :-The general assembly elects the board of directors according to the terms in the union’s internal regulations.
Article 101: basic system of the union should show the objectives and goals for which the union has been established, rights and duties of members, membership, duties of the general assembly and irregular general assembly. The system should show the conditions of membership, specialties of the members, budget, and the regulations in case of amending the system. It must also include regulations in case of dissolution of the general assembly and ways to clear the money, records and registers of the union, which are used for controlling purposes.
Article 102: the elected board of directors should be dissolved every five years, starting from the election date and submission of the papers of establishment to the ministry.
The official body of the union will be considered from the day the minister issued a decision on its approval, and submission of the required papers or documents to the minister.
The ministry has the right to guide the union towards correction of the procedures of its establishment and completion of the necessary papers before the official declaration of the union. If the ministry fails to respond to the papers of the union within 15 days from the day of submission, the law will consider the union official.
Article 103: The employees and employers unions, after receiving all the benefits in the law, should respect the rules and regulations in the country just like other organizations, and they should practice their rights and activities within their borders as per the law.
Article 104: The ministry will guide the syndicates and employers unions towards the right path of implementing the law, and how to keep the registers and financial documents special to the union, in addition to guiding the completion of the documentation in case of any shortage.
It is forbidden for the unions to:
X :-operate in political, religious and sectarian cases
X :-use their money in financial speculation, real-estate or other forms of speculation
X :-accept gifts except after obtaining permission from the ministry
Article 105: The syndicate is permitted to open restaurants and cafeterias for the workers after obtaining permission from the business owner and the concerned government authorities.
Article 106: The workers unions can create joint unions between them according to the laws of declared unions and this law. The general/joint union should be only one between workers or employers. The general union should comply with the regulations governing the establishment of unions.
Article 107: The syndicates, unions and workers public unions have right to join the Arab and international unions. The ministry should be notified about this and such participation should not undermine the interests of the public and government.
Article 108: The organization of the workers and employers can be optionally disbanded through a decision from the general assembly, according to the system of the unions. Financial assets of the union will be followed according to the decision taken by the general assembly in case of the optional dissolution of the organization.
The board of directors of the union can be disbanded if the ministry files a case at the Cassation Court that rules dissolution of the board after it engages in illegal activities as per the paragraphs of this law and rules related to public morals or ethics. The decision of the court can be appealed within 30 days from the date the decision was issued.
Article 109: The employers should supply all the decisions related to the rights and duties of the employees.
Article 110: The employer can delegate a member or more in the board of the directors at the syndicate or the union to follow the affairs of the union, in coordination with the business side and the concerned government authorities.
Section two: Group work contract
Article 111: The joint or group work contract organizes the conditions and nature of the work between syndicates, unions, more than two groups, or with representative of the employers union.
Article 112: The contract should be printed and signed by the worker and be exhibited to the general assembly, including the contract between syndicates, unions and employers union. Members of the general assembly should approve it according to the foundation system of the union.
Article 113: The group or joint contract should not exceed three years, and if continuation is proffered in the contract, it is renewable for one year only with the same conditions, as long as no conditions in the contract violate it.
Article 114: If one side wants to end the contract, instead of renewing it, the other party should inform the ministry three months before the end of the contract. If the involved parties are more than one, if one ends the contract, it is not invalid due to one side.
X :-All conditions of the contract are nullified, if one of the conditions of the individual or group contract violates the law, even if it has been enforced provided the condition is not in favor of the worker.
X :-The contract is nullified if the workers reject or give up their rights in the contract granted by the law. If the law violates the rights of the worker, it is nullified during its validity.
Article 116: The group, syndicate or union can not function until its registration at the concerned ministry and publication in daily newspapers. The concerned ministry has right to object the terms in the contract that violates the law, and both sides have 15 days to amend the contract or the registration will be nullified.
Article 117: The group or joint contract can be signed in different levels including industrial or national level etc, and if the contract is signed in industrial level than the Union for the Industrial Workers should approve it, and if national then Public Workers Union. The contract will amend those before it with similar specialties.
Article 118: The terms of the group or joint contract are applicable to:
X :-The syndicates and unions that signed the contract and who joined them after the signing.
X :-The employers and unions that joined the contract after it has been signed.
X :-The syndicates that form unions who signed the contract or joined it after the signing.
X :-The employers who joined the employers unions that signed the contract earlier or after it has been signed.
Article 119: If the workers withdraw from the union or have been terminated from it, it will not affect their acceptance of the terms of the group contract, provided the withdrawal or termination comes after the union signed or joined the contract later.
Article 120: Active members of the syndicate, union or employers unions are allowed to join the group contract after its publication in daily newspapers, based on the agreement between the two sides. It is not necessary to take permission from the retired members. Those who want to join should submit an application to the ministry signed by both sides. The ministry’s approval will be published in newspapers.
Article 121: The joint contract signed by the syndicate of the entity is applicable to all employees, regardless if they are members of the syndicate or not and in reference to Article 115 of this law that relates to the benefits of the workers. However, the contract between unions, syndicates and employers union is not applicable to all employees, only those under the employer.
Article 122: workers syndicates and employers unions that are part of the group contract can file a lawsuit, based on the violations related to the contract, in favor of its members without asking their authorization.
Section 3:Group work conflicts
Article 123: group work conflicts between one or more employers and all employees or group of employees due to work or the conditions at work.
Article 124: In case conflicts in group work, all the involved parties should have direct negotiation between the employer/ his representative and employees/their representative. The concerned ministry can delegate its representative during the negotiation as an observer.
In case of settlement, the agreed terms will be recorded at the concerned ministry within 15 days and according to the regulations issued by the minister.
Article 125: any of the negotiating parties can ask the concerned ministry to settle the conflicts amicably through the Conflicts Committee formed based on a decision from the minister, if the negotiation does not lead to the desired solution.
The request/application for amicable settlement should be signed by the employer or his representative, or the person appointed by a majority of the workers involved in the conflict.
Article 126: the Conflicts Committee consists of the following:
X :-Two representatives elected by the syndicates or workers.
X :-Two representatives elected by employer or the workers involved in the conflict.
X :-Chairman of the committee and two representatives from the ministry will be appointed by the concerned minister through a decision that also defines the number of representatives from the conflicting parties.
The committee can consider the ideas of anybody it deems useful, while the concerned ministry can demand information related to the conflict any time.
Article 127: The Conflicts Committee should complete review of the conflict in one month from the time the application of amicable settlement was submitted. It should submit draft of the agreed points even if it is partial. The agreed points should be accepted by the concerned parties and the final report will be sent to the ministry. The committee can schedule a discussion on the points of conflict in another session, and in front of the judgment authority for work conflicts with all the required documents.
Article 128: judgment authority for work conflicts will be formed as follows:
X :-One of the departments at the Appeals Court assigned by the general assembly for this court annually
X :-Chief prosecutor delegated by the Public Prosecutor
X :-Representative from the concerned ministry assigned by the minister and the conflicting sides will appear before the authority, in addition to their legal representatives.
Article 129: The judgment authority has 20 days to review the case starting from the day the papers arrive at its office. All the involved parties should be informed about the meeting date one week earlier. The period allowed for the authority to take a final decision on the case is three months at the latest.
Article 130: The judgment authority shall be granted powers equal to that of the Appeals Court according to the law that organizes the judiciary and legal procedures related to commercial and civil cases, and its decisions will be similar to that of the Appeals Court.
Article 131: Except Article 126 of this law, if there are group conflicts, the ministry has right to interfere without obtaining permission from the conflicting parties to settle the dispute amicably. The ministry has right to refer the case to the judgment authority or Conflicts Committee. The conflicting parties should bring all necessary documents as requested.
Article 132: It is prohibited for the conflicting parties to carry out any task together during the group conflict and negotiation.
Chapter 6 – Inspecting the Work and Penalties
Section One: on inspecting the work
Article 133: The minister appoints a group of specialized employees who will be granted the right to take decisions and required to carry out their duties with dignity. They should not divulge the secrets of the employers involved in the group conflicts and every one of these employees will take an oath in front of the minister.
Article 134: The employees mentioned in the first paragraph are allowed to enter the establishments during the work hours to inspect the records and registers which contain the information related to the workers. They have right to take any sample for investigation. These employees have the right to enter the areas allocated by the employer for the service of workers. They have the authority to use public security to carry out their duties.
They are also authorized to issue warnings to the employers and give them grace period to correct their violations, which will be transferred to the court to require the employer to pay the corresponding fine.
Article 135: The specialized employees have the right to enforce Articles 83, 84 and 86 in case the employer violates part of this law and paragraphs of others laws like polluting the environment and public health or endangering the health and safety of the workers. The decision of the employees will go to the concerned minister who has the final say on closing down the shop or partial closure according to the existing mechanism.
Article 136: The specialized employees have the authority to impose fines on erring employees, including those who work in unspecified locations. They have power to use the security authorities and cooperate with other governmental parties over the goods that workers left behind and cannot be replaced by the employer.
Section Three: on penalties
Article 137: Referring to any harsh punishment stipulated in another law, this law imposes fine of not more than KD 500 on those who violate Articles 8 and 35 of this law. In case of repeating the violation within three years, the penalty will be doubled.
Article 138: Referring to any harsh punishment stipulated in another law, this law imposes a jail term of not more than three years, and fine of not less than KD 1,000 and not more than KD 5,000 or one of these penalties on those who violate the third paragraph of Article 10 of this law.
Article 139: In case of violations against Article 57 of this law, the employer is ordered to pay fine equal to not more than the total workers’ entitlements, which have been delayed, while granting all the employment privileges t mentioned in Article 57.
Article 140: Referring to any harsh punishment stipulated in another law, this law imposes fine of not more than KD 1,000 to those not mentioned in articles 133 and 134 of this law.
Article 141: Referring to any harsh punishment stipulated in another law, this law punishes whoever violates its other articles and decisions related to the law as follows:
X :-Violators should be notified on the need to rectify their mistakes within a period of not more than three months, as specified by the ministry.
X :-If the violation is not cleared within the specified period, the violators will be asked to pay fine of not less than KD100, and not more than KD 200 for each of the employees, who suffered or witnessed the violation. In case of repeating the violations within three years from the last violation, the penalty will be doubled.
Article 142: The penalty will be imprisonment within maximum of six months and fine of not more than KD1,000 or one of these penalties, on those found to have violated the closure or arrest decision, according to Article 135, without clearing the violations specified by the inspectors.
Chapter 7 – The conclusion rules
Article 143: The minister issues a decision on forming a consultative committee which consists of representatives from the ministry, Government Manpower and Restructuring Program, Executive Authority and from unions of the employers and workers deemed suitable by the ministers. The committee will then present ideas on the issues as per the minister’s demands during the consultation, including decisions.
Article 144: complaints from workers will not be accepted a year after the contract expires. According to paragraphs 2 and article 442 of the Civil Law, the court can ask those who filed the case to pay the corresponding court fees. One year after the case, the contract will be terminated and the petitioners will be asked to pay the judiciary fees.
Article 145: Except Article 1074 of the Civil Law, the rights of the workers will be according to the law and the employees, who have not been paid, will have right on the property of the employer, except the private residence, after the deduction of the judiciary fees and amount the employer has to pay to the public treasury.
Article 146: The worker or beneficiaries should submit application to the Labor Department, asking the other conflicting party or their representative to come. If the department cannot settle the problem amicably within a month, then it will be transferred to the Court of First Instance.
Article 147: The court will renew the session to review the case within three days from the day the application was received, and the conflicting sides involved.
Article 148: The minister issues rules and regulations to execute this law within six months from the day of its publication in the official newspaper, and through discussion with the employers and workers.
Article 149: Private sector labor law number 38/1964 will be canceled and rights of the workers in the old law remains in effect, in addition to all decisions that have been issued, except those violating the new labor law, and until similar decisions is been issued for the new law.
Article 150: The prime minister and ministers, all those concerned with the law, should execute the law and it will be effective from the day of its publication in the daily newspaper.
Obligations and penalties for employees and employers
Article 32: the probation period in the employment contract should not exceed 100 days, which means 100 working days. As per law number 38/1964, an employee should not be under probation with the same employer more than once. The ambiguity in the stated law has been clarified, such that it is possible for any of the parties to end the contract during the probation period and that the employer should pay indemnity for the period within which the employee works for him if he is the one terminating the contract, in line with this law.
Article 33: the provision of this article is similar to law number 38/1964 in terms of the need to ensure equality among employees. If an employer assigns part of the work to another person under similar conditions with an employee, he should treat them equally and they should enjoy the same rights.