Private sector employers discuss employment law


Kuwait: Kuwait’s recently introduced employment legislation will dramatically change the landscape of the country’s private sector and provide greater rights to employees, according to NEN Al Wagayan, Al Awadhi and Al Saif & DLA Piper Kuwait, the legal practice ran a workshop to help organizations understand the implications understand the implications of the new regulations.

More than 60 delegates from the private sector attended the seminar, with the dramatic improvements that female employees now face being one of the key focal points.

New private sector labor laws were approved by the Kuwaiti parliament in December and come in to force in February, and private sector organizations are now rapidly aligning their policies to the new requirements.

Mr. Nader Al Awadhi, a senior Partner in “ (NEN )Al Wagayan, Al Awadhi and Al Saif “ Said: ‘The Seminar provided a good opportunity for employers across the private sector to discuss the changes and questions raised and to give a real insight onto the challenges and benefits contained in the new law.”

Among the key changes were a number of improvements to the rights of female employees that will both encourage and retain more female talent within the private sector. These include:

Improvements to maternity leave;

Nursery facilities for female employees with children aged under four.

Entitlement to full end – of – service payment for women resigning within one year of marriage.

“working mothers should see a dramatic improvement in flexibility, which it is hoped will encourage more women to channel their talents into the private sector; said Neil Crossely; a partner with DLA Piper Middle East’s Employment Pensions and benefits Group. ‘A number of delegates were interested in the practical aspects of providing nurseries as now every employer at a secure industrial site with even a handful of female employees, which has a workforce of more than 200 will need to install a nursery.

This will make a huge different to female employees, allowing for greater flexibility, and will encourage more women to stay in employment after starting family.’

These family friendly changes come on top of the changes affecting all private sector employees, such as longer annual leave entitlement, more public holidays, improved remuneration package on resignation,  a minimum wage and a right not to be dismissed without good reason. 

Crossley continued, ‘when the new changes to termination and unfair dismissal are mixed with the changes to working hours and holiday entitlements, Kuwait will have one of the strongest labor protection systems in the gulf, and rights which are equal to some of the best international standards.

‘Delegates recognized the real increase in costs represented by turnover of staff as, on dismissal, every employee is now entitled to three months notice.

 The reality is that most employees resign to move to a new employer, in order to improve their pay or prospects or simply to leave the region, in which case they are now entitled to a much improved gratuity.

Interesting points were again raised by the delegates themselves about the ability of employs to agree on  shorter periods of notice with staff who  want to leave in order to reduce those costs.’

NEN Al Wagayan, Al Awadhi and Al Saif & DLA Piper Kuwait has works with large number of companies to ensure that their policies accurately reflect the changes in employment law.

 The Middle East employment team is working with local companies and international firms with a presence in Kuwait to help them fully comprehend the changes that have been introduced and to align the new law with their current policies.

The New Labor Law is certainly progressive and demonstrates the importance that the Kuwaiti government has placed on creating a modern labor market, Nations that harness the full economic potential of their workforce across the gender divide are those best place to succeed and the new law ensures Kuwait has legal framework required to make it a reality.’ Commented Crossley.

Attending the event were legal representation, human resources officials and senior resources officials and senior management figures representing business from a wide range of Kuwaiti industries, including oil & gas, aviation logistics and finance and investment, as well as senior representative from the Belgian, German and British embassies.