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The Kuwait government has taken a proactive approach by implementing exceptional measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are key considerations for employers and employees alike during this period as provided for in Kuwait’s Labour Law No.6 of 2010, as amended (“Labour Law”).
An employer cannot force an employee to take his annual leave during this period. The Labour Law provides that the employer may grant unpaid leave to the employee upon the employee’s request. As such, the employer may not force the employee to take unpaid leave without the employee’s consent.
Per Kuwait Law, an employee is entitled to 30 days’ annual leave. The employee may accumulate the same, provided that the leave does not exceed two years. The employee will be entitled to take his accumulated leave all at once, upon receipt of the employer’s approval. The annual leave can be accumulated for more than two years with the consent of both parties.
The Labour Law provides that the employee’s remuneration may not be reduced for any reason during his or her period of service. It further stipulates that an employer shall pay the employee’s remuneration during periods when the work of the establishment is totally or partially suspended for any other reason not related to the employee, for as long as they wish to continue to employ the individual.
Employees are entitled to the following annual sick leave:
Any illness necessitating sick leave shall be supplemented by a certificate from a doctor appointed by the employer or from a government hospital.
Finally, we note that the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM), as all governmental authorities, are currently on ‘lock down’ due to precautionary measures for the spread of corona virus. We are awaiting further guidance from PAM in order to better understand how to treat such issues. Our analysis is based on the provisions of Kuwait’s Labour Law, as they stand to date. As far as we are aware, the shutdown has not specifically been applied to the private sector to date, and that it is up to each private business to determine whether they will require their employees to work during this period. We are aware of certain business closures and restrictions being applied in relation to shopping malls and public gathering spaces.
Al Tamimi Kuwait regularly advise on legal and regulatory matters concerning the employment sector in Kuwait.