Kuwait suffers lack of awareness of employees' rights
Most employees are not aware of their rights, so they don’t demand them. This is in the favor of the employer, who is not willing to apply the rules and exploits the lack of knowledge of his employees. The labor law introduced two years ago includes many additional benefits for employees, so much of it is not applied by the employer.
Labor Law 6/2010 for the private sector was published in the official gazette on Feb 21, 2010. Article 25 of this law states that the employer is obliged to establish a nursery for children of their employees who are aged under four years. This is applied to companies that have more than 50 female employees or a total of 200 of both male and female employees. A call center of one of the mobile telecommunication companies denied establishing a nursery for their employees. An employee said there are more than 300 employees working at the call center, besides those in their many other departments.
Two local popular banks, which employ hundreds and even thousands of employees, stated that they do not have any nursery for the children of their employees. Abeer, a 28-year-old employee at one of the banks, complained of no nursery at her workplace. She is the mother of a six-month-old baby boy.“In fact I did not know about this right, which would very much simplify my life. Now I am depending on my mother to take care of him while I am at work. But if she got sick, this would be a problem for me. I did not demand my employer to establish a nursery, as I am afraid to be fired. If I found more employees to submit a collective demand, I would do so,” Abeer told the Kuwait Times.
According to attorney Khalid Al-Awadhi, the employees can complain about their employer to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.“The Ministry will force the employer to establish a nursery at the work place if an employee complains. In case the employer did not respond to the Ministry’s demand, the Ministry can take sanctions against the employer. They can close the file of this violating company so the employer won’t be able to do any commercial procedures or paperwork. The ministry may also refuse to renew his business license. If this employer asks to increase the number of employees, his demand will be refused as his file will be closed at the ministry,” he explained. The employer is not allowed to fire the complaining employee.
“Many employees are not aware of their legal labor rights. In case the complaining employee is terminated it would be considered an arbitrary termination, and the ministry may force the employer to return the employee to her or his work,” he added.“To avoid such cases, I advise employees to submit a collective complaint, as in this case the employer will most probably agree to this demand and will not terminate the demanding employees. I think we need more modifications to the law, as the MPs responsible for this matter are not qualified in my view,” concluded Al-Awadhi.Attorney Zainab Al-Ramzi advised female employees to submit their demands in the form of suggestions directly to the employer, rather than going to the ministry.“In case the employer decides to terminate any of the demanding employees, they can file a case in court and they will get their rights,” she stated.
Nawara Fattahova, Staff Writer