Kuwait private sector labor law explained
Kuwait Labor Law for the private sector with the Explanatory Memorandum to the Labor Law.
Following are the articles of the law in line with its chapters as follows:
Article One: specifies the concerned ministry - the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor and the concerned minister - the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor. It also defines the terms laborer, employer and organization.
Article Two: states the law is applicable to the private sector employees. This means all the definitions regarding the laborer and the employer mentioned in the first article, explains clearly what is meant by personnel working in the non-government sector.
Article Three: specifies the validity of the proposal on the contract of marine labor, concerning issues not covered by the marine commercial law or if the stipulation of this law is more beneficial to the laborer.
Article Four: confirms that the rules of this law are applicable to laborers in the oil sector, in case there is no stipulation in this regard in the existing law in the oil sector or if this law is more beneficial to the laborer.
Article Five: exempts the domestic workers and those not covered by this law as the minister is required to issue a decision concerning their affairs, in accordance with the rules governing their relations with the employers.
Article Six: states an authentic rule unanimously approved by jurisprudence and Courts and limited by most of modern legislations saying that the verdict of this law including merits and rights for personnel represent only the minimum of these rights and it is not possible to give them up. However, the best merits and rights included in the group or single contracts or even the byelaws approved by the employers that include more merits than what is mentioned in the law, these contracts have to be approved and laborers treated according to them.
In other words; the rights and merits approved for laborers represent only the minimum limit which is included by the lawmaker, therefore it is not allowed to touch these rights unless this agreement is more beneficial for laborers whether this deal when approving the contract or during the validity of the contract to cope with the spirit of legislation related to the public system, in addition to the human spirit that refuses but hates to get its rights cut specially after approving them.
Employment (Using), Apprenticeship and Professional Training
Article 7: grants the concerned minister (Minister of Social Affairs and Labor) the right to issue decisions and organize conditions for employment in the private sector.
Article 8: obligates the employer to inform the concerned authority on his manpower needs, requirements of his workers, and the type and number of employees in line with the expansion or reduction of activities, according to a decision the minister issues in this domain.
Article 9: stipulates the need to establish a Public Authority for labor force with a separate budget under the supervision of the minister of social affairs and labor. It will be in charge of the authorities granted to the minister under this law and recruitment of expatriate workers as per the manpower demands of the employers. A law on organizing this procedure will be issued within a year from the date of working with this law.
Article 10: specifies the procedures and rules for the recruitment of non-Kuwaitis in a way that enables the concerned ministry to control and regulate the labor market in accordance with the goal of the country to replace the expatriate personnel with national manpower gradually.
In light of the aforementioned goal, this article prohibits an employer from hiring expatriate workers from abroad or locally without providing jobs or if proven he has no actual need for the recruited workers. Employers are not also allowed to hire non-Kuwaitis without obtaining a work permit from the concerned labor department. These measures are aimed at limiting the number of marginal workers in the country and organizing the labor market to ensure that an expatriate laborer works only for the employer who hired him from abroad. This also obligates the employer to shoulder the expenses for the laborer’s repatriation.
On the other hand, every time the ministry rejects an employer’s request to hire workers from abroad it should clearly explain its decision. However, the amount of capital should not be a reason for rejection to ensure monitoring of the performance of the government in case of rejection.
If the worker resigns and joins another company, the latter should bear the costs for the laborer’s repatriation when the original sponsor files an absconding case against the worker.
Article 11: prohibits the ministry from practicing all forms of discrimination while dealing with employers concerning the issuance and transfer of work permits and licenses in line with its vision.
This article also allows suspension of the issuance or transfer of work permits for a maximum period of two weeks a year, but it should be enforced on all employers. The ministry should not exempt any one from the rule during the suspension period.
Apprenticeship and Professional Training
This section includes Articles 12 to 18 which stipulate rules governing apprenticeship and professional training to provide a suitable environment for the development of the skills of national manpower who are required to render service in the future, since they have been given a chance to undergo training.
Article 12: clearly defines the term ‘professional apprentice’. It also stipulates rules on the training and recruitment of juveniles as per the age range mentioned in this law.
Article 13: states that the professional apprenticeship contract must be written and issued in three copies - one for each of the parties involved and the third will be forwarded to the concerned labor department for attestation. The article also prohibits specifying the wage based on production or piecework to spotlight the educational nature of the contract during the normal recruitment process.
Article 14: specifies conditions for the employer to end the apprenticeship contract.
Article 15: defines professional training, which includes the theoretical and practical programs to give workers the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills or under go on-the-job training to enhance their abilities, raise their production capacity, prepare them for certain professions or transfer them to others. Training takes place in institutes, centers or establishments for this purpose.
Article 16: requires the minister, in cooperation with the concerned academic and professional authorities, to lay down the necessary conditions for holding professional training programs and specify the training period, theoretical practical program, examination system, and certificates given in this regard and the statements therein.
This decision requires the establishment of one or more training centers for the workers. Companies should then provide training for the workers in centers, institutes or other establishments if they have no training center or institute.
Article 17: states the establishments, which are subject to the rules of this chapter, are obliged to pay the worker his full wage during the training period either in or outside the establishment.
Article 18: obliges the professional apprentice or trainee worker, after completing his training, to work for the employer within the same period he underwent apprenticeship or training or a minimum of 5 years. If he violates this agreement, the employer has right to demand compensation for the training expenses or the remaining period he has to complete the work, which is excluded from the training period and is not more than three months .
This section includes Articles 19 to 21.
Article 19: prohibits the employment of a minor - below 15 years.
Article 20: defines the term ‘juvenile’ as anyone who reached 15 years but not yet 18. Those under this age category are allowed to take employment after obtaining permission from the concerned ministry under the following conditions: they should work in factories or engage in dangerous jobs or those that might harm their health as per the decision of the concerned minister. They must also present a duly signed medical report before starting the work and on a regular basis after that, but not exceeding 6 months.
Article 21: specifies the daily work hours for juveniles who can work maximum 6 hours, but they should not work continuously for more than 4 hours, followed by a rest period of not less than one hour. They should not also work over time, during weekend or official holidays, or 7:00 pm to 6:00 am as this period is usually considered night hours.
This section includes Articles 22 to 26.
Article 22: prohibits the employment of women from 10:00 pm to 7:00 am, except those who work in treatment homes or other institutions specified in a decision issued by the minister. The workplace should be equipped with the necessary security systems to ensure their safety. They should also be provided with means of transportation to and from the workplace.
Article 23: prohibits the employment of women in hazardous jobs, those that might endanger their health, defy the morality code, or in institutions which provide services exclusive for men. The minister of social affairs and labor will issue a decision to specify jobs and institutions in which women are not allowed.
Article 24: stipulates privileges for working pregnant women, including 70 days paid maternity leave, provided the woman gives birth within this period. She can also avail of not more than 4 months unpaid leave, upon her request.
Employers should not terminate the service of a woman while she is on maternity leave or sick due to pregnancy or delivery, on the condition that she presents a medical report in this regard.
Article 25: grants working women 2 hours break from the normal work hours to nurse her baby, in accordance with the conditions specified in the ministry’s decision. An employer is obliged to establish a day care center for children below 4 years if more than 50 women or more 200 men work in the establishment.
Article 26: states the need to treat a working woman equal to her male counterpart, if they are engaged in the same job. They should get the same salary without any discrimination between them. A special regulation mentioned in the law on employing women should not be a justification for granting a female worker salary lower than that given to her male counterpart.
Individual Work Contract
Work Contract Structure
Article 27: allows those who reached 15 years to sign a work contract, provided he is qualified for the job and the contract has no specific period. If the period is specified, then it should not be more than one year, so it will be in effect by the time he reaches 18 years. This rule complements Article 94 of the Civil Law.
Article 28: states that the work contract should be written and contains a detailed explanation of its stipulations. It should be issued in three copies, one for each party and third to be forwarded to the concerned authority at the ministry. If the work contract is not written on paper, the employer in this case can exercise his right through all means of confirmation.
Article 29: stipulates the need to write all contracts in Arabic and the translation of which in any foreign language can be added to it, but the Arabic is binding in case of discrepancies. Rules applied on these contracts are also applicable to the correspondence, publications, bylaws and circulars that the employer issues to his workers.
Article 30: clarifies that if the period of the work contract is specified, it should not exceed 5 years but not less than one year. This period can be renewed as per the agreement of both parties.
Article 31: states that if the period of the work contract is specified and both parties continue to implement it after the expiration, the contract is renewed automatically for a similar period and the conditions therein remain in effect, as long as the two parties have not agreed to renew it with a different set of conditions.
In any case when the contract is renewed, it should not affect the rights of the worker mentioned in the previous contract, so the worker is entitled to these rights.
Concerning Obligations and Penalties for Employees and Employers
Article 32: the probation period in the employment contract should not exceed 100 days, which means 100 working days. As per law number 38/1964, an employee should not be under probation with the same employer more than once. The ambiguity in the stated law has been clarified, such that it is possible for any of the parties to end the contract during the probation period and that the employer should pay indemnity for the period within which the employee works for him if he is the one terminating the contract, in line with this law.
Article 33: the provision of this article is similar to law number 38/1964 in terms of the need to ensure equality among employees. If an employer assigns part of the work to another person under similar condition with an employee, he should treat them equally and they should enjoy the same rights.
Article 34: requires employers handling government projects and those whose employees stay in the outskirts to provide suitable accommodation and transport without any deduction form the employees’ entitlements. The employer should also pay housing allowance in case he does not provide suitable accommodation for the employees. The ministerial decision shall specify outskirts, conditions governing suitable accommodation, activities and criteria the employers should observe in providing the accommodation.
Articles 35-38: clarify regulations governing disciplinary actions that an employer should observe before imposing any penalty on an employee and the right of the employee to defend himself against allegations. The concerned ministry should approve punishment regulations drafted by the employer, while the same ministry can amend the regulations to suit the nature and condition of employment, including maximum deduction of five days salary in a month, before the employer can apply the regulations.
Article 39: An employee can only be suspended for 10 days during investigation, while he is entitled to full salary if he is not indicted.
Article 40: Employers should impose part of the aforementioned penalties against an employee for social, economic and cultural purposes. Having obliged the employer to keep record of deductions from employee’s salary, the article stipulates that proceeds of funds from penalties should be equally shared among other employees, in case it is liquidated for any reason, while the concerned ministerial decision shall take control of the fund and method of sharing.
Concerning End of Contract and Indemnity
Article 41: specifies conditions for an employer to dismiss a worker without prior notice, allowance or compensation. This is the opposite of Article 48, which explains conditions under which an employee can end a contract without prior notice while entitled to full indemnity. It clarifies conditions under which an employee is entitled to full indemnity after dismissal, while the employee can take the case to the labor arbitrator, such that he shall be entitled to indemnity and compensation for being subjected to certain adverse conditions during the dismissal. In all cases, the employer should notify the ministry of his decision and reasons for such, while the latter shall inform the Government and Manpower Restructuring Program (GMRP).
Article 42: permits the employer to regard an employee’s absence for seven consecutive days or 20 inconsecutive days within a year as resignation, so provisions of Article 53 shall be considered in his entitlement to indemnity.
Article 43: includes new provisions regulating entitlements of an employee in case of reservation or execution of inconclusive judicial ruling, due to allegations of the employer against him, which he considers as suspension. The employer should not end his contract until the final ruling indicts him. The employer should pay his full entitlement covering the period of suspension, including reasonable compensation stipulated by the court.
Article 44: contains necessary procedures for ending the contract within an unspecified period, such that the other party should be notified at least three months prior to the dismissal for monthly salary earners and a minimum of one month for other categories. It specifies compensation that the party ending the contract should pay, which should cover the grace period.
Article 45: prohibits an employer from using his right to dismiss an employee on an authorized leave, so the employee will not be surprised by the termination of his contract during the vacation.
Article 46: prohibits the employee from ending the contract without justification related to effectiveness, attitude of the employee, or nature of job. It does not recognize any special reason for contract termination by the employer due to its link to the Constitution and international agreements, which allow employees to join trade unions and freely participate in their activities, freedom of opinion and arbitration.
Article 47: specifies regulations for compensation which both parties should abide by when any of them intends to end the contract. The judge should consider nature of job while fixing the compensation.
Article 48: explains conditions upon which an employee can end the contract with full indemnity.
Articles 49-50: specify situations whereby the contract is ended by the judiciary.
Article 49 specifies ending of contract through death, inability to perform or depletion of sick leave of the employee.
Article 50 specifies ending of contract due to transfer of ownership of the company to another person through sale, merging, bequeathal, donation or any other legal means, which could also be final closure or bankruptcy.
It states that rights of employees become compulsory debts of the successor and predecessor when the transfer of ownership occurs in the aforementioned manner. The employees can decide to continue with the company thereafter and maintain the subsisting contract.
Article 51: discusses indemnity of monthly salary earners and other categories. As per the former, the employee is entitled to payment of 15 days for every year of service for the early years and one month for the latter years, while the total indemnity should not exceed payment for one and a half year.
As for other categories, it is calculated as 10 days for the first five years, which shall increase to 15 days as from the sixth year, while the total indemnity should not exceed one-year salary. In both cases, the employee is entitled to payment for fraction of a year within which his employment is terminated.
Article 52: specifies situations whereby an employee deserves full indemnity.
Article 53: states that the employee deserves part of the indemnity if he resigns from a contract which has no specific duration. The employee has right to half of the indemnity if he works for up to three years and less than five years. He is entitled to two-thirds of the indemnity if he completes five years and to full payment if he completes 10 years.
Article 54: stipulates that the employee has right to demand a certificate of experience after years of service, which should include length of service and experience, while the employer should not include negative comments that could defame him or obstruct his chance of getting another job. The employer should return documents, materials or certificates to the employee, which was submitted to him from beginning of employment or during the period.
On system and work conditions
This section includes Articles 55 to 63.
Article 55: defines wage as the actual income of an employee or the amount he should receive for performing a task. This includes basic salary and other aspects like social allowance and other entitlements in the employment contract or specified by employer regulations.
The definition of wage does not include bonuses, grants, or other entitlements to cover expenditures of employees on official duties or specialized car allowance for transport to various locations or provision of accommodation for guards of houses.
The wage includes social and children allowances in line with law number 19/2000, as well as any other entitlements approved by the government as period payment to employees.
The article adds a new perspective to resolve the issue of wage fixing in the form of a portion of net profit, such that the said article considers a situation whereby the company does not make the anticipated profit or that the profit is meager. The wage of the employee shall therefore be calculated by level of performance in line with fairness and occupational ethics.
Article 56: states the wage of the employee should be paid on a working day with the currency in circulation, while monthly paid employees should receive salaries at least once in a month or once in two weeks and the payment should not be later than seven days after the due date of payment.
Article 57: stipulates that the employer whose workers are covered by the oil sector labor law number 38/1969 should pay their entitlements to financial institutions to ensure prompt payment and forward relevant lists to the ministry.
Article 58: in order to prevent adverse effect on employees, this article prohibits transfer of monthly paid employees to another category without his approval, so this will not affect his entitlements for previous years of service.
Article 59: stipulates the need to protect employees from deduction of more than 10 percent from their salaries to offset loans or debts to the employers without any benefits to them. It prohibits withholding over 25 percent of wage or deduction from the employee, due to debts for food, clothing or other cases.
Article 60: the lawmaker considers the need to protect employees by prohibiting compulsory purchase of foodstuff, goods from a specified shop or product of the employer.
Article 61: requires the employer to pay his employees during partial or total closure of the company for any reasons unconnected to the employees, while he should not end the contract of employees for this reason.
Article 62: affirms a policy in law number 38/1964, which considers calculation of entitlements for another employee. If the employee receives wages in pieces, then his wage shall be calculated by average of his actual earnings over the last three months, so financial and incentive entitlements shall be average of his earnings over the last 12 months. If the length of service is less than a year, the period of service shall be considered in the calculation without any deduction.
Article 63: stipulates that the concerned minister shall issue a decision through which minimum wage shall be fixed depending on the occupation and industry. This is in line with future demands and modern directions in Kuwait to encourage people to work in the private sector. The decision shall be issued after a discussion with the consultative committee on labor affairs and relevant organizations.
Working hours and weekends
This section includes Articles 64-69.
Article 64: fixes weekly work hours to 40 and employees should not work beyond eight hours per day. This has brought about amendment to Article 33 of law number 38/1964. The only difference is the use of word “or” as regards to the level of possible increase in number of daily work hours beyond 8 hours, which could reach maximum of 48 hours per week. The new law has amended this to become 48 hours per week and 8 hours per day, except in situations stated in the Constitution.
The text adds a new law stipulating 36 work hours during Ramadan. The same text reduces number of work hours for strenuous jobs or due to adverse conditions, based on a ministerial decision.
Article 65: regulates paragraph 2 of Article 33 of law number 38/1964, stating that employees should not work for five consecutive hours daily without a break, except the banking, financial and commercial sectors where employees work for eight consecutive hours.
The new law, based on approval of the concerned minister, has allowed engaging employees to work continuously without a break for technical, emergency or administrative activities, provided the daily work hours shall be reduced by at least one hour.
Article 66: stipulates that the employers should put in writing whenever there is need to engage employees for overtime, in order to prevent danger, fix existing problems, avoid imminent loss or face huge amount of regular workload. It stipulates number of daily, weekly and annual work hours, while wage for overtime shall be 25 percent more than the regular wage and employer should record the overtime for that purpose.
Article 67: recommends 24 consecutive hours rest for employees after six days of work in a week, unless there is need to engage employees during the weekend. In that case, the employee is entitled to at least 50 percent above normal daily wage, while the employer should compensate him with another day off in the following week. It indicates that this provision does not affect the right of employees to daily wages and holidays, such that it should be considered in the calculation of his salary.
Article 68: fixes official holidays with full salary, so an employee is entitled to 11 paid holidays in a year. If the condition calls for engaging an employee during these days, the employee is entitled to double wages and another day off as compensation.
Article 69: specifies calculation of the following categories of sick leave with valid medical report:
* 15 days with full salary
* 10 days with 3/4 salary
* 10 days with 1/2 salary
* 10 days with 1/4 salary
* 30 days without salary
The medical report should come from a doctor recognized by the employer or a doctor in government health unit. This shall determine granting of each type of the abovementioned sick leaves, but whenever there is disagreement, the government medical report shall be considered. The last paragraph exempts chronic diseases, which a ministerial decision shall specify.
Paid annual leave
This section includes Articles 70-79.
Article 70: raises annual leave for employee to 30 days, while he is entitled to fragment of a year within which he works, even if it is during the first year of employment. It specifies that official holidays or sick leaves within the period should not be counted as part of the annual vacation.
Article 71: states an employee is entitled to annual leave payment prior to commencement of the vacation in order to prepare himself.
Article 72: empowers the employer to fix the annual vacation period or scatter it with the consent of the employee, provided the latter has enjoyed the first 14 days. The employee can also merge his vacations for a period of not more than his entitlement for two years with the approval of the employer. The two parties can agree so an employee can enjoy accumulated vacations for two years together, as the case may be.
Article 73: stipulates the workers’ right to demand payment for all his unused annual leaves during his service when the contract ends, provided it does not violate Articles 70 and 71.
Article 74: prohibits a laborer from giving up his annual leave with or without compensation in order not to defy the noble purpose of the legislators, who approved this leave, to give the worker rest period to restore his energy.
On the other hand, the employer has right to reclaim the amount he paid to the worker for the leave, if proven the latter worked for another sponsor while on leave.
Article 75: grants the worker paid academic leave to encourage him to pursue higher studies, provided he serves the employer for the same period he completed his studies or maximum of 5 years. In case the worker violates this agreement, the employer has right to reclaim the wages paid during the leave.
Article 76: grants 21 days paid Hajj leave to a laborer who spent 2 consecutive years in service under the same employer and has never performed Hajj.
Article 77: grants a worker three days paid leave in case of the death of his first or second degree relative. In case of the death of a working Muslim woman’s husband, she is entitled to paid leave for 4 months and 10 days, starting from the day her husband died, while non-Muslim working woman, who lost her husband, will get 21 days paid leave. The minister shall issue a decision to organize conditions for granting this leave.
Article 78: grants paid leave to a worker who attends a conference or periodic international and social meetings, in accordance with the rules and regulations stated in a decision issued by the minister.
Article 79: grants the worker - upon his request - leave other than those mentioned in this law, without pay.
Safety and career health
Rules on maintaining safety and career health
This section includes Articles 80 to 88.
Article 80-83: explain types of registers and files the employer must keep for a worker, such as files containing information about various types of leaves, work-related injuries and illnesses, safety and career health, beginning and end of service, and information and registers required in line with these articles.
The employer must hang bylaws on penalties, work hours, weekend and official holidays in conspicuous areas. He should facilities to ensure the safety of workers and career health to prevent work-related injuries or illnesses, without requiring the employee to bear any expenses in this regard or deduct from his salary for providing such facilities.
Article 84: obligates the employer to put in conspicuous places the precautionary measures that should be taken to prevent work-related injuries and illnesses. The concerned minister shall issue guidelines in this regard.
Article 85: also refers to a decision to be issued by the concerned authority, after taking into consideration the opinion of other authorities, to determine the types of activities which necessitate equipment and provision of safety and career health facilities, in addition to the appointment of qualified technicians to operate the equipment.
Article 86: also obligates the employer to take all the necessary precautionary measures to protect the worker.
Article 87: instructs workers to carefully use the protection gear and strictly adhere with the directives issued in this regard.
Article 88: obligates the employer to insure his workers, in coordination with insurance companies, against work-related illnesses, taking into account the rules of the Social Insurance Law.
Concerning injuries and occupational hazards
This section includes Articles 89 to 97.
Article 89: stipulates rules that govern work-related injuries and illnesses not applicable to insured workers, who are subject to insurance rules on work-related injuries and illnesses stipulated in the Social Insurance Law.
Article 90: explains the measures that the employer or the worker, if his condition allows him, should take in case of any injury at work. The concerned authorities should also be informed about such incidents.
Article 91: states the employer should bear the expenses for the treatment of a worker who suffers from work-related injuries and illnesses, including medicines and transportation expenses, without violating Health Insurance Law number 1/1999. Both employer and worker are allowed to contest the medical report before the Medical Arbitration Committee at Ministry of Health.
Article 92: stipulates the need for employers to provide the Ministry of Health with periodic reports on work-related injuries and illnesses.
Article 93: grants the injured worker right to claim his full salary during the period of treatment. If it exceeds 6 months, the worker deserves half of his monthly salary until he recovers, confirms his disability or death.
Article 94: states the minister shall issue a decision, after consulting his health counterpart, to determine the compensation for the injured worker or his beneficiaries.
Article 95: defines conditions in which the injured worker is denied compensation and scope of this deprivation.
Article 96: stipulates the privileges granted to a worker, who exhibits symptoms of a work-related illness one year after his resignation approved for the worker as per Articles 93 to 95.
Article 97: states the employer should compensate the injured worker or his beneficiary, according to his years in service.
The insurance company or Public Authority for Social Security, after compensating the worker or his beneficiary, can demand reimbursement of the compensation from the employer, in accordance with the stipulation of the first paragraph of this article.
Article 105: guarantees the right of syndicates to open cafeterias and restaurants to serve the workers after obtaining approval from the employer and the concerned authorities in the country.
Article 106: guarantees the right of syndicates to form unions to protect their common interests, as well as the right of unions to form a general union. However, there should not be more than one general union for workers and employers.
Article 107: allows the workers and employers organizations, unions and general union mentioned in the previous article to join any Arab or international organization, provided they inform the ministry.
Article 108: specifies two forms of dissolving the organizations of employers and workers:
n Optional dissolution - through a decision issued by the general assembly in accordance with its constitution.
n Court dissolution - through a verdict issued upon the request of the concerned ministry to dissolve the board of directors due to violations of the organization on the rules of this law or the Constitution.
The article allows an appeal or challenge to these verdicts within 30 days from the date of issuance at the Appeals Court. In case of optional dissolution, fate of the monies resulted from the liquidation process will be determined through a decision from the general assembly.
Article 109: states the employer should provide the workers with a copy of the rules and regulations related to their duties and rights.
Article 110: permits the employer to appoint from the labor union board of director a member or more to follow up affairs of the union with the labor authority or any other concerned authorities.
Group work contract
This section contains Articles 111 to 122 concerning regulation on the joint labor contract, which was never included in any previous labor laws.
Article 111: defines the joint labor contract as a contract that regulates labor conditions, which is signed between a labor union or more, or association(s) on one part, and an employer or more, or union(s) of employers on the other part.
Article 112: stipulates that such a contract should be written upon which the two concerned parties should agree. Approval of the labor organizations and union of employers should emerge through the general assembly, in line with the basic principle of the concerned organization or union.
Article 113: stipulates that the joint labor contract should include a specific duration of not more than three years. If the two parties strictly follow provisions of the contract within the period, a one-year renewal is possible based on the subsisting provisions. In both cases, the contract should not contain certain conditions which violate stipulations of this law in Article 114.
The article also states that any of the two parties which is interested in renewal of the contract after expiry period should inform the other party and the concerned ministry in writing at least three months prior to the expiry, but if there are multiple parties, discontinuation of one does not affect others.
Article 115: lays down a general assurance, such that any aspect of the contract which violates any provisions of this law automatically voids the contract. The only exception is the conditions which guarantee rights and entitlements of employees better than the minimum level stipulated by this law.
The article also nullifies any conditions or agreement signed prior to this law, which could possibly deprive employees of their rights. It equally nullifies reconciliation or concession that could curtail or deprive employees of their rights, while the contract is valid or three months prior to its expiration, if it contravenes this law.
Although this is a joint labor contract, it is similar to the individual labor contract.
Article 116: stipulates the need to register the contract in the concerned ministry and publish it in the official gazette for implementation.
Paragraph two of this law permits the concerned ministry to reject any contrary conditions, while the two parties can only amend it in line with the requirement of the ministry within 15 days after the parties receive the rejection or else the ministry shall regard the application non-existing.
Article 117: states the contract can be signed:
n at the company level
n at the industry level
n at the state level
It is compulsory for industrial unions to sign the contract at the industry level, while the federation of trade unions should sign at the state level. Any amendment on contracts at the industry level affects the one at the company level, while amendment of the one at the state level is binding on the other two, which is limited to joint provisions therein.
Article 118: enumerates individual and corporate bodies, as well as groups included in the joint labor contract. The first group includes labor unions or associations that sign the contract or join after the signing. The second group includes group of employers or their associations that sign the contract or join thereafter. The third group includes combined labor unions that sign the contract or join thereafter. The fourth includes employers who sign the contract as an association or join the group later. This will enhance stable labor relations due to the emerging social and economic impact in this regard.
Article 119: states that withdrawal or expulsion of an employee from a group does not affect contractual agreement as regards his commitments.
Article 120: in order to emphasize positive impacts of the joint contract, this article permits those who did not partake in the contract signing with labor unions or their associations and employers and their associations to become part of the contract after publication in the official gazette. The joining is valid through agreements with two concerned parties in the joining without necessarily involving the two basic parties of the contract. The application in this regard should be forwarded to the concerned ministry for approval in the official gazette before the admission is valid.
Article 121: states that the company joint labor contract is applicable to all employees without necessarily registering as members, so an employer should not violate any rule that could place him at a better advantage over others. On the other hand, any contract signed by an association or labor union with an employer is only applicable to employees of the concerned company.
Article 122: states the labor organizations and employers, since they are the major signatories to the contract, have unhindered right to take legal action against violation of contractual agreements without necessarily requesting the act.
Group work conflicts
This section includes Articles 123-132, whose objective is to maintain stability in private labor relations whenever there is comprehensive labor dispute involving a large number of employees due to work or conditions setting them against the employer(s).
Article 123: defines the joint dispute as an instance that occurs between employer(s) and all or part of the employees due to work or labor conditions. This text has expanded the concept of the joint labor dispute, so it includes work apart from the conditions available in Article 88 of law number 38/1964, wherein disputes were individualistic rather than joint — even if it involves a group of employees or all of them. The lawmaker deems it fit to pronounce the dispute joint despite the fact that it is due to work-related issues. This is to guarantee conducive labor atmosphere in the company, industry or the state, such that arbitration will be possible rather than litigations.
Article 124: specifies that arbiters for the feuding parties should start by dialogues between employees and employers or their representatives, while the ministry can send a representative to follow up and monitor the dialogue.
Paragraph two states the parties should record any agreements bordering on duties, rights and entitlements for both parties with the ministry within 15 days, in line with the regulations.
Article 125: in case any of the parties reneges on the agreement, this article states that the affected party can demand intervention of the ministry through a reconciliation panel. The employer or his representative, as well as majority of the employees involved or their representatives should sign the application.
Article 126: deals with composition and personalities of the reconciliation panel members. The panel can engage any relevant person to enhance its activities, while the concerned minister shall specify number of members from the ministry or feuding parties. The panel has the right to demand for data that could assist in resolving the impasse.
Article 127: specifies procedures and duration within which the panel could reach amicable settlement, which should be the final agreement binding on both parties. If the reconciliation panel fails to settle the dispute within a given period, it should send the contentious points to the arbitration authority within a week —supported with all the relevant documents presented by both parties.
Article 128: discusses composition of the arbitration panel in this regard. This panel shall be composed by an appellate court, while the annual general assembly of the appellate court shall nominate the members. The prosecutor general shall represent the Attorney General, while the minister shall nominate the ministry’s representative. The feuding parties or their legal representatives shall attend the proceedings.
Article 129: guarantees quick resolution of disputes by mandating the arbitrators to conclude investigations within 20 days from the date of receiving case files. It states that the feuding parties should be informed about the date of sitting at least a week earlier, while the entire case should be resolved maximum by three months from the first date of sitting.
Article 130: states that the arbitration panel has similar prerogatives to the appellate court concerning discharge of ruling in line with provisions of civil and commercial laws, so its ruling is as binding as that of the appellate court.
Article 131: introduces a new principle concerning possible intervention of the ministry in the joint dispute in certain situations, without demand by any of the feuding parties for amicable resolution. It also has right to refer the case to reconciliation panel or arbitration panel, depending on its discretion for quick resolution. The feuding parties should present all documents demanded by the ministry and respond to summons.
Article 132: prohibits the feuding parties from partial or total suspension of work during direct negotiations, while the ministry intervenes, in line with Article 131, or during the arbitration process in the ministry, reconciliation panel or arbitration panel.
It is noteworthy that this provision only covers existing joint labor disputes (between employers and employees) or else the dispute shall be regarded as individualistic no matter the number of individuals involved.
Inspecting the work and penalties
On inspecting the work
Article 133: grants judiciary arrest powers to specialized employees appointed by the minister. These employees are experts in monitoring the implementation of the law and regulations included in the decisions. They should take an oath and carry out their duties with dignity. They are not allowed to divulge the secrets of the employers they are inspecting.
Article 134: defines the authorities of specialized employees in carrying out their task. These employees have the right to enter establishments, review registers and records concerning the workers, and visit locations where the employer provides services to the employees.
Article 135: gives the specialized employees the right to take the necessary action, in coordination with the concerned authorities, in certain cases like the total or partial closure of shops or suspension of the use of some equipment until the violation is cleared.
Article 136: gives the specialized employees authority to impose fine on employees working for another sponsor.
This section includes Articles 137 to 142 and generally talks about imposing harsher penalties on violators as the punishment stipulated in law number 38/1964 are not enough to curb the violations.
Article 137: imposes fine of not more than KD 500 on whoever violates Articles 8 and 35, and the fine doubles in case of repeating the violation.
Article 138: imposes a jail sentence of not more than three years, fine of not less than KD 1,000 and not more than KD 5,000, or one of these penalties on whoever violates Article 10 of this law.
Article 139: imposes criminal penalty on employers who violate Article 57 of this law.
Article 140: believing in the role of the ministry to monitor the establishments and assess their level of compliance with the health and safety regulations and punish those who prevent the specialized employees from fulfilling their duties according to Articles 133 and 134, this article imposes fine of not more than KD1,000 on those who violate the regulates and impede the work of the specialized employees.
Article 141: states the need to advise the violators to rectify their mistakes within the specified period and impose the corresponding penalties in case of failure to clear the violations.
Article 142: to activate the monitoring role of the ministry, this article imposes fine of not more than KD 1,000 and jail sentence of not more than six months on those who violate closure decisions according to Article 135
The conclusion rules
This chapter includes Articles 143 to 150.
Article 143: stipulates the need to form a consultative committee to present relevant ideas to the minister. It specifies functions of the committee and ways to use its recommendations.
Article 144: to protect the rights of the workers and ensure that they get their rights, Article 442 of the Civil Law, which is different from Article 96 of law number 38/1964, is utilized to regulate procedures for handling the complaints of workers.
According to Article 442, complaints presented one year ago or more should no longer be heard in court. Judiciary fees are dropped from old cases submitted by the workers and the cases are considered very quickly.
Article 145: employees who have not been paid their salaries have right to the property of the employer, except the private residence, after the deduction of judiciary fees and amount due to the public treasury.
Article 146: allows the workers or their beneficiaries to submit a complaint to the nearest labor department, which will then try to settle the dispute amicably. In case the department fails, the complaint will be referred to the First Instance Court. Within three days, the court should schedule a session to look into the case and the parties involved should submit the documents related to the conflict.
Article 148: requires the minister to issue a decision and regulations concerning the implementation of this law after consulting with the employers and employees.
Article 149: nullifies law number 38/1964 but the workers’ privileges stipulated therein shall remain in effect, provided they do not contradict the paragraphs in the new law.
Article 150: instructs the prime minister, ministers and other concerned authorities to implement the law, starting from the day of its publication in the daily newspaper.