Kuwaiti nationals have the right to join and to establish unions. Expatriate workers are allowed to join unions after a five-year residency term but only as non-voting members. Kuwaiti law forbids the establishment of more then one union per “functional area”.
Kuwaiti workers have the right to organize and to bargain collectively. The right to strike is recognized but is limited by Kuwait’s labor law, which requires compulsory negotiations followed by arbitration. The constitution prohibits forced labor except in cases specified by law with just remuneration. The minimum age for employment, both full and part time, is eighteen years of age. There is no minimum wage for the private sector and in the public sector the minimum wage is KD226 a month for Kuwaiti bachelors and KD301 a month for married men.
General working conditions are established by Kuwaiti law for both the public and the private sector, with the oil industry treated separately. The work week is limited to forty-eight hours with one day of rest per week and a minimum of fourteen days of vacation annually.
The law governing the oil industry provides for a forty hour work week, over time pay, and thirty days annual leave. Women are promised equal pay for equal work.
Employers are responsible for maintaining a safe working environment.
Foreigners wishing to work in Kuwait must obtain a work permit before entering the country. Such permits are granted by the Ministry of Labor and are generally limited to sectors in which there is a need for expatriate labor such as tourism, industry, banking and private education.
Foreign contractors are obliged under Decision No. 694 (26.7.92) to take part in a counter-trade offset program if the accumulated value of contracts in which they are engaged is equal or greater than KD 1 million.
The offset may reach up to 30 percent of the monetary value of the said supply contract and can be performed by counter-trade, training or investment programs. The offset obligations must be settled within eight years.