Yesterday, new amendments to one of Kuwait’s major laws were promulgated in the official gazette. Article 51 and 70 of Kuwait labor law 6 of 2016 were amended to provide clearer employment benefits to Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis alike. Therefore, many of my readers have requested consultations regarding the topic, so I decided to write about the law explaining the changes and the ways it can be implemented. This is a great step forward, especially for non-nationals living in Kuwait. I have highlighted the changes by answering some of your questions below:
Question: I heard the new law confirms that no amounts should be deducted from the end of service benefits or termination indemnity. Can you please confirm this?
Fajer: Article 51 of the Kuwait labor law before amendment explained the end of service/termination indemnity calculations, and then stated that “the provisions of the social security law shall be taken into consideration in this regard, and the employer shall pay the net difference between the amounts accrued due to the subscription of the worker in the social security and to the end of service benefit”.
This statement now has been replaced with the following (rough translation as there is no official English version yet): “The social security laws should be taken into consideration, and the employee is entitled to his/her full end of service benefits without deducting any social security amounts”. This makes a huge difference for Kuwaitis or GCC nationals in Kuwait that are registered under the social security scheme in Kuwait.
So to answer your question, not all amounts due from an employee to an employer cannot be deducted – they can if you have debts due and so on.
Question: Is it true that now we can take 45 days off instead of 30 a year?
Fajer: Article 70 before the amendments used to state: “The worker shall be entitled to a 30-day paid annual leave. However, the worker shall not be entitled to a leave for the first year of work except after at least nine months of service for the employer. Official holidays and sick leaves during the year shall not be counted as annual leave. The worker shall be entitled to a leave for the fractions year in proportion to the period he spent in actual service, even the first year of service.”
Now it states (rough translation as there is no official English version yet): “The worker shall be entitled to a 30-day paid annual leave. However, the worker shall be entitled to a leave after six months of service for the employer. Weekends, official holidays and sick leaves during the year shall not be counted as annual leave. The worker shall be entitled to a leave for the fractions year in proportion to the period he spent in actual service, even the first year of service.”
We can see two major amendments here:
1. Employees are entitled to leave after six months instead of nine months.
2. Weekends are no longer calculated in the annual leave.
So to answer your question, employees are not entitled to 45 days annual leave, but now only five days a week should be deducted from their leave (while currently it’s common practice to calculate Saturday as a working day when it usually isn’t). This will give the employee six weeks in total a year, if they are taking their annual leave at one go.
I hope I have helped explain the law above. If you want to read more, it is available in the July 9 edition of the official gazette of Kuwait under law 85 for 2017.
Should you have any questions or concerns, or you require a consultation, please email me at [email protected]
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed