Eid Mubarak – Days off

A beautiful month of fasting, devotion, charity, prayers, kindness and forgiveness has passed and Muslims all over the world are looking forward to celebrating the Eid Al-Fitr holidays. The majority of GCC countries, including Kuwait, have a large number of non-Muslim workers who are greatly affected by Ramadan. Because of the way the schedule is for those fasting in Ramadan, a lot of businesses usually change their working hours, putting more strain on expats in Kuwait that are here working hard with us. Therefore, I am sure they are looking forward to the Eid holidays as well.

I wish you all happy holidays – please be kind and considerate to those around you. A huge THANK YOU goes out for those working hard to keep us protected, like security and law enforcement personnel. A big THANK YOU also goes out for all of those working in retail and food and beverage, serving us and our families throughout the holidays. I hope the following helps answer your concerns.

Days off
Question: I work in the private sector and I am wondering how many days off do I get?
Fajer: For Eid Al-Fitr, you are officially entitled to three paid days. I have included below the article with all paid holidays in accordance with the Kuwait labor law.
Article (68)
The fully-paid official holidays are as follows:
a- Hegira New Year: 1 day
b- Isra’ and Mi’raj day: 1 day
c- Eid Al-Fitr: 3 days
d- Waqfat Arafat: 1 day
e- Eid Al-Adha: 3 days
f- Prophet’s (PBUH) Birthday (Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi): 1 day
g- National Day: 1 day
h- Gregorian New Year: 1 day

Full hours
Question: My boss says I cannot have any paid days off on Eid, instead I need to work my full hours. He said I can get an extra day off next week. Is this fair?
Fajer: Article 68 says the following about all paid holidays: “In the event where the worker is required to work during any of the above mentioned holidays, he shall be entitled to a double remuneration and an additional day off.” This means that you should not only get an extra day off, but be paid twice your daily pay for working on Eid. For example, if your monthly salary is KD 500, that means you get paid KD 19.3 a day (that is KD 500 ÷ 26 working days a month), and if you work on Eid, then you should get an extra KD 19.3 this month for every Eid day you have worked.

Extra days off
Question: I know the Kuwait labor law says that we have three days off for Eid, but the government sometimes circulates a notice with more days off. Does this mean I get those extra days off or are they only for Kuwaitis or Muslims?
Fajer: The government usually puts out a circular for its employees – in other words, those working in the governmental sector, regardless of their nationality or religion. If you are working in the private sector, you will not necessary get the days specified by the government for the public sector, although a lot of companies offer the same to their employees by choice.

12-hour shifts
Question: I just got a memo from my boss saying that I will not be entitled to the Eid holiday and I have to work 12-hour shifts on Eid instead of the usual eight hours a day. My boss says it is because we are very busy on Eid, receiving families at our location. This does not make any sense to me – can you please explain what my rights are?
Fajer: As I explained above, if you are working on Eid, you deserve double your pay and an additional day off in the near future. If you are working more than eight hours, then you deserve twice the basic hourly rate, as mention in the Kuwait labor law. With that said, you should only be working two extra hours overtime per day!
Twelve-hour shifts are not acceptable. The maximum can be 11 hours including an hour-long break after five hours of working. Please note that my answers are very general and do not apply to all sectors, as certain sectors have specific regulations by the ministry.

Eid Mubarak to all! I wish you and your families a lovely holiday.

For any legal questions or queries, email [email protected].
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed

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