Kuwait’s private sector law takes effect

February 22, 2010

Foreign workers in Kuwait - Kuwait Times

Kuwait’s new private labour law that includes the establishment of an independent authority that will bring and hire foreigners took effect on Sunday following its publication in the official gazette.

Its implementation will spell better benefits for thousands of foreign workers, but not for domestic helpers who are not covered by the law.

The law bans the employment of people under the age of 15 and of women past 10 pm. Pregnant women are given 70 days paid leave, up from 14 in the previous law, and mothers two hours off their daily workload for breastfeeding.

A widowed Muslim woman has the right to a fully paid leave for four months and ten days in line with Islamic tenets, while a non-Muslim woman who is widowed gets a 21-day paid leave.

Under the new law, no contract can be terminated without plausible reasons and employees receive half a salary for each of the first five years in the job. The allowance becomes one full salary for the subsequent years.

The daily workload is eight hours, including a one hour rest, for six days a week. The seventh day is paid leave. Workers can avail of 15 paid sickness days, 10 days for 75% of the salary, 10 for 50% and ten for 25%.

Although it did not eliminate the controversial sponsorship system, the law has been hailed as a significant step forward by Kuwait in addressing critical issues related to the exploitation of foreign labourers, mainly from Asia, and their deprivation of their rights. 



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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