More than 30,000 Kuwaitis who took two days off following a weekend, and state-given three days off last week, could face tough measures, after Kuwait’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Hind al-Sabeeh slammed what she described as "abuses".
"Those who wanted to rest and extended their Eid break to nine days while people were keen on processing administrative transactions should retire and rest," the minister said.
"Salaries are public funds and I cannot tolerate abuses. Those who did not report to work will be held accountable," she said, quoted by Kuwait media on Thursday.
Employers in Kuwait, and much of the Gulf region, regularly celebrate Eid by providing three days off for their employees. The sick leaves, which were taken on Wednesday and Thursday, extend the Eid holidays - that started on the previous Friday - by five days.
"The rules and regulations will be strictly applied to deal with any unexcused absence from work," sources told local al-Nahar newspaper. "It was ridiculous to see senior officials and heads of departments show up at work while junior employees were not there to deal with people and routine office work."
Kuwait's Civil Service Commission (CSC) confirmed it was launching an investigation into all the sick leave cases to determine whether they were genuine, suggesting it would look into health records and identify doctors who signed the sick notes.
"The Commission has to make sure that the public interest is preserved and now wants the ministry of health to take the necessary legal measures against doctors who did not respect ethics and abused the system by issuing bogus sick leave, which amounts to forging official documents."
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