OFWs are an integral part of the Kuwaiti workforce, contributing significantly to the country’s economy. However, many OFWs in Kuwait face various challenges and issues related to their employment and working conditions. These issues range from low wages, long working hours, limited access to healthcare, to even cases of abuse and mistreatment. As such, there is a pressing need to protect OFW rights and welfare in Kuwait. This can be achieved through government policies, regulations, and enforcement mechanisms that ensure fair treatment, just compensation, and safe working conditions for all OFWs.
It’s important for every OFW to know their basic rights here in Kuwait so that they can be protected and enjoy a better life while working abroad. If you are interested to know more about your rights as an OFW in Kuwait, then you can refer to the list below.
- OFWs in Kuwait
- What are the Rights of OFWs in Kuwait?
- Challenges and Issues Faced by OFWs in Kuwait
- Video: Rights of Domestic Workers in Kuwait
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What are the maximum working hours for OFWs in Kuwait?
- 2. What is the probationary period for OFWs in Kuwait?
- 3. Can OFWs in Kuwait be terminated without justification?
- 4. What are the leave entitlements for OFWs in Kuwait?
- 5. What is the minimum wage for OFWs in Kuwait?
- 6. Can OFWs in Kuwait be forced to buy foodstuffs or commodities from their employers?
- 7. What are the rules regarding payment of wages for OFWs in Kuwait?
- 8. Are there any restrictions on women’s employment in Kuwait?
- Final Thoughts
OFWs in Kuwait
The Filipino community in Kuwait is one of the largest expatriate communities in the country, with an estimated population of around 260,000 as of 2021.
A significant portion of this population consists of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who work in various sectors, such as construction, healthcare, hospitality, and domestic work.
The working conditions of OFWs in Kuwait have been a subject of concern in recent years, with reports of abuse, exploitation, and poor working conditions.
Some of the common issues faced by OFWs include non-payment of wages, long working hours, lack of access to healthcare, and limited legal protection.
However, the Kuwaiti government has made efforts to address these issues by introducing laws and policies aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of OFWs.
Despite these challenges, OFWs in Kuwait continue to make significant contributions to the country’s economy.
They are a vital source of labor in various sectors and help drive economic growth. Additionally, the remittances sent by OFWs to their families in the Philippines play a significant role in supporting the Philippine economy.
As such, the contributions of OFWs in Kuwait are essential, and it is crucial to ensure their rights and welfare are protected.
What are the Rights of OFWs in Kuwait?
As a worker in Kuwait, you are entitled to certain labor rights that protect you from unfair treatment and ensure you are compensated fairly for your work. The following guide outlines some of the key labor rights in Kuwait, including security of tenure, hours of work, rest day, wages and benefits, payments of wages, employment of women, and leave entitlement.
1. Security of Tenure
- Probationary period shall not exceed 100 working days.
- Either party may terminate the contract during the probation period without notice.
- In the event where the termination is made by the employer, he shall pay the worker’s end of service benefit for the period of work in accordance with the provisions of this Law.
- The service of the worker shall not be terminated without any justification or as a result of his activity in the syndicate or a claim or his legal rights in accordance with the provisions of the law.
- The service of the worker may not be terminated for reason of gender, race or religion.
- In the event where the term of the work contract is specified and the contract was unrightfully terminated by either party, the terminating party shall compensate the other party for damage provided that the amount of the compensation shall not exceed the remuneration of the worker for the remaining period of the contract.
- If the employer terminates the contract without justification, they must compensate the worker for the remaining period of the contract.
- If the worker terminates the contract without justification, they must compensate the employer for the remaining period of the contract.
Note: The compensation amount should not exceed the remuneration of the worker for the remaining period of the contract.
Overall, the Kuwait labor law emphasizes the importance of security of tenure for workers, and outlines clear guidelines for probationary periods, termination, and compensation in case of contract breach. It is important for both workers and employers to understand and follow these guidelines to ensure a fair and just workplace.
2. Hours of Work
To ensure the well-being and productivity of employees, Kuwait labor laws provide guidelines regarding maximum working hours, rest periods, and meal breaks.
- Maximum working hours:
- Employees are allowed to work for a maximum of 8 hours a day and 48 hours a week.
- This is to prevent overworking and ensure that employees have enough time to rest and recharge.
- Working hours during Ramadan:
- During the holy month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 6 hours a day and 36 hours a week.
- This is to accommodate employees who are observing the month-long religious fast.
- Rest periods and meal breaks:
- Employees are entitled to rest periods and meal breaks to prevent exhaustion and maintain productivity.
- No employee is allowed to work for 5 consecutive hours without a break of at least 1 hour for rest and meals.
- Employers should provide a suitable area for employees to take their breaks and rest.
- The length of the break and rest periods may vary depending on the nature of the work and industry.
Following these guidelines will ensure that employees in Kuwait have a safe and healthy working environment and are able to maintain a good work-life balance.
3. Weekly Rest Day
You are entitled to a paid weekend which is equal to 24 continuous hours after every six working days.
4. Wage and Wage Related Benefits
Minimum remuneration: The Minister shall issue a resolution every five years at the latest, in which he shall fix the minimum remuneration depending on the nature of the various professions and industries, taking into consideration the rate of inflation witnessed by the country and after discussing such resolution with the Advisory Committee for Labor Affairs and the competent organizations.
Overtime pay: You are entitled to receive 25% of your basic remuneration for any work done beyond your regular working hours.
Work on rest day: You are entitled to a substitute rest day or 50% basic remuneration of regular day’s pay plus basic remuneration for any work done on your rest day.
Work on holiday: You are entitled to double remuneration and an additional day off for any work done on a holiday.
End of service gratuity: You are entitled to receive a gratuity at the end of your service period, the amount of which will be calculated based on the length of your service and your last basic remuneration.
5. Payments of Wages
Currency and location of payment: You must be paid in Kuwaiti dinar, at the place of work (or through bank transfer).
Frequency of payment: You must be paid at least once a month, except if you are a daily wage earner, in which case you must be paid once every 2 weeks.
Delay in payment: Payment of your remunerations shall not be delayed for more than 7 days after the due date thereof.
Choice of products: You are not obliged to buy foodstuffs or commodities from specific outlets or products produced by your employer.
6. Employment of Women
Night work: Women are not allowed to work between 10pm and 7am.
Maternity leave: Women are entitled to 70 days of maternity leave with full pay, provided that she gives birth within this period.
7. Leave Entitlement
Leave entitlement is an important aspect of employment that ensures that employees have enough time to rest, take care of personal matters, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
In Kuwait, there are several types of leave entitlement that employees are entitled to, including:
- Annual Leave: Employees are entitled to 30 days of annual leave every year. This leave can be taken at the discretion of the employer, but it is usually divided into two parts, with 15 days taken during the first half of the year and 15 days taken during the second half of the year.
- National Holidays: Employees are entitled to Kuwait national holidays, which include national and religious holidays. These holidays are usually announced by the government at the start of each year, and employees are entitled to paid leave on these days.
- Sick Leave: Sick leave is also covered under leave entitlement in Kuwait. Employees are entitled to:
- 15 days of sick leave with full pay
- 10 days of sick leave with three-quarters pay
- 10 days of sick leave with half pay
- 10 days of sick leave with quarter pay
- 30 days of sick leave with no pay
In order to avail of sick leave, employees are required to provide a medical certificate from a licensed medical practitioner.
- Al Hajj Leave: Additionally, employees who have spent two continuous years working for the same employer are entitled to Al Hajj leave, which is 21 days of leave to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. This leave is granted once only, and employees are entitled to full pay during this time.
Employers should ensure that these entitlements are provided to their employees in accordance with the law, as they are crucial for maintaining a happy and healthy workforce. By providing adequate leave entitlement, employers can help employees to achieve a better work-life balance and improve their overall wellbeing.
Challenges and Issues Faced by OFWs in Kuwait
You might have heard about horrifying stories about Filipino workers becoming victims of abuse and violence in Kuwait. These stories make headlines because they are rare, and most of the time, the workers who come home with harrowing tales have suffered abuse at the hands of their employers. And though we say some extreme cases are rare, there are, still, a handful of other problems and challenges faced by OFWs in Kuwait.
- Long working hours: Many OFWs in Kuwait work for long hours, which can be physically and mentally exhausting.
- Delayed payment of wages: Some OFWs face the problem of delayed payment or non-payment of wages, which can cause financial hardship.
- Poor living conditions: Some OFWs in Kuwait face poor living conditions, such as inadequate accommodation and lack of basic amenities.
- Lack of job security: OFWs in Kuwait often work on a contract basis, which can result in a lack of job security.
- Limited access to healthcare: Many OFWs in Kuwait do not have access to healthcare services, which can be a major concern in case of illness or injury.
- Kafala system: The kafala system in Kuwait, which ties the legal status of a migrant worker to their employer, can make it difficult for OFWs to leave their jobs or seek legal recourse in case of labor rights violations.
- Language barrier: Many OFWs in Kuwait do not speak Arabic, which can make it difficult for them to understand their legal rights and communicate with authorities.
- Discrimination: OFWs in Kuwait may face discrimination based on their nationality, race, or religion.
- Lack of legal representation: OFWs in Kuwait may not have access to legal representation or may not understand the legal system in Kuwait.
Steps being taken to address these challenges:
- Reforms to the kafala system: The Kuwaiti government has announced plans to reform the kafala system, which could improve the legal status of migrant workers.
- Legal assistance for migrant workers: The Kuwaiti government and some NGOs provide legal assistance and support for migrant workers in Kuwait.
- Improvements in working conditions: The Kuwaiti government has implemented measures to improve working conditions for migrant workers, such as setting maximum working hours and providing access to healthcare.
- Awareness campaigns: NGOs and other organizations conduct awareness campaigns to educate migrant workers about their rights and the legal system in Kuwait.
- Bilateral agreements: The Philippine government has signed bilateral agreements with Kuwait to protect the rights of OFWs and ensure their welfare.
Video: Rights of Domestic Workers in Kuwait
Do you wonder what organizations in Kuwait work with domestic workers and how they can help you? Or do you want to know more about the rights of domestic workers in Kuwait? Watch this video to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the maximum working hours for OFWs in Kuwait?
OFWs in Kuwait are entitled to a maximum of 8 hours of work per day and a 48-hour workweek. During the month of Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 36 hours per week.
2. What is the probationary period for OFWs in Kuwait?
The probationary period for OFWs in Kuwait shall not exceed 100 working days. During this period, either party may terminate the contract without notice. If the employer terminates the contract during the probation period, they must pay the worker’s end of service benefit for the period of work.
3. Can OFWs in Kuwait be terminated without justification?
No, OFWs in Kuwait cannot be terminated without justification or as a result of their activity in the syndicate or a claim or their legal rights in accordance with the provisions of the law. The service of the worker may not be terminated for reason of gender, race or religion.
4. What are the leave entitlements for OFWs in Kuwait?
OFWs in Kuwait are entitled to 30 days of annual leave, Kuwait national holidays, and sick leave with full pay for 15 days, three-quarters pay for 10 days, half pay for 10 days, quarter pay for 10 days, and no pay for 30 days. Additionally, Al Hajj leave of 21 days is granted once to an OFW who has spent two continuous years working for the same employer.
5. What is the minimum wage for OFWs in Kuwait?
The minimum wage for OFWs in Kuwait varies depending on the nature of the various professions and industries, taking into consideration the rate of inflation witnessed by the country. The Minister issues a resolution every five years, at the latest, to fix the minimum remuneration.
6. Can OFWs in Kuwait be forced to buy foodstuffs or commodities from their employers?
No, OFWs in Kuwait are not obliged to buy foodstuffs or commodities from specific outlets or products produced by their employers.
7. What are the rules regarding payment of wages for OFWs in Kuwait?
OFWs in Kuwait are paid in Kuwaiti dinar at the place of work or through bank transfer. They are paid at least once a month, except for daily wage earners who are paid once every two weeks. Payment of remunerations shall not be delayed for more than seven days after the due date.
8. Are there any restrictions on women’s employment in Kuwait?
Women in Kuwait are not allowed to work night shifts from 10 pm to 7 am. However, they are entitled to maternity leave with full pay for 70 days, provided that they give birth within this period.
In conclusion, the challenges and issues faced by OFWs in Kuwait cannot be ignored, and it is essential to address them urgently. The government of Kuwait must take proactive measures to improve working conditions, promote labor rights, and provide access to social welfare programs for all OFWs.
As Filipinos, we must also be aware of our rights and take steps to protect ourselves from exploitation and abuse, especially when working overseas. By working together, we can create a safe and supportive environment for OFWs in Kuwait and ensure that they receive the respect, dignity, and fair treatment they deserve.