In line with Kuwait’s goal to organize work systems and protocols in the private and oil sector in reference to the country’s labour laws and standards, the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) has issued administrative decree no. 552, which specifies which places women are allowed to work at night, according to a report by Al-Anba Daily.
Kuwait’s Labour Law maintains that a female employee who is tasked to do a man’s job is to be given equal compensation to that of her male counterpart. Also, female employees are given the same standard working hours as male employees, but they are not allowed to work between 7:00 pm to 6:00 am.
12 Work Activities Women are Allowed to Do at Night
However, in practice, those who work in clinics, hotels, nursery schools, pharmacies, homes for the handicapped, airlines and tourism offices, theatres, and entertainment industries are legally allowed to work beyond the set working hours for women whereas women working in the field of cooperative forms, public utilities, tailoring shops, beauty salons, banks, and offices may work at night but only until midnight.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour (MOSAL) may also extend working hours at night during Ramadan, Eid, and other public holidays. However, during these periods, employers are to arrange for the transportation of female employees who work at night. The decision of PAM identifies 12 workplaces where women are allowed to work late in the night which include health care institutions, pharmacies, medical laboratories, hotels, recreational parks, law offices, nurseries for infants and the handicapped, theatres, cinema, television, satellite and radio stations, aviation companies and institutions, commercial establishments operating in airports and ports, oil sector and petrochemical industry, as well as companies that have contract with the government for providing 24- hour services such as child, handicapped and elderly care services.
Additionally, the Ministry has also identified the places where women are allowed to work up until midnight including: restaurants, banks, law offices, public welfare associations, cooperatives, educational institutions, beauty salons for women, recreational parks, tourism offices and airline agents, commercial complexes, as well as markets except during the month of Ramadan.
PAM has enforced mandatory guidelines for institutions that employ the services of female employees at night, which include safety measures and transportation arrangements to and from their workplace. Furthermore, there have been 15 prohibited industrial activities listed by PAM for women of all ages.
These include industries involving dye, asbestos, chlorine and soda, as well as asphalt; slaughterhouses, manufacture and trade of pesticides, quarries and factories, furnaces for melting and casting metals, explosives and other related jobs, manufacture of liquid electric batteries and repairing them, operating and maintenance of electric motors, manufacture of organic fertilizers or storage locations, sandblasting industry and any industry that emits silica particulates, heavy manual work requiring effort such as those in line with construction, fire fighting and hazardous manual labour related to maintenance and drilling of wells of all kinds, and all works that require the circulation or use of lead, arsenic, benzol, phosphorus, or any of the substances listed under the category ‘occupational diseases’.
The employer, on the other hand, holds the right to arrange the breastfeeding schedule of their female employees in regard to the nature of work or position they hold. The breastfeeding right is no longer observed when the child reaches two years old. The ministry’s decision also entitles a Muslim woman, whose husband died, to fully paid leave for four mos. and ten days from the date of her husband’s death (waiting period leave). To avail this benefit, the female employee must present their marriage contract and her husband’s death certificate to her employer. The woman should not also work for other employers during the leave period.