All workers in Kuwait reserve the right to submit a grievance or a complaint to their employer and to the Labour Relations Department. Do note, however, that those working in the domestic services, such as chauffeurs and maids, are not covered by any particular code (public/private sector), and will have to depend on general principles of law.
In cases where a domestic service employee encounters some issues with their employers, they can still reach out to non-government labour organizations, their country’s embassy, as well as the police for help.
[Guide] How to File a Labour Complaint in Kuwait
However for those working in the private sector, all labour complaints must be addressed to the Labour Relations Department of the Public Authority of Manpower. This department reviews and examines all labour-related complaints by employees, as this department is solely tasked to consider, examine and clear all individual labour disputes between workers and employers in the private sector.
Disputes related to financial entitlements (such as non-payment or underpayment of wages), sponsorship transfer, absconding notifications, travel bans, and work-related injuries all go through the Labour Relations Department. The department also conducts follow-up on collective complaints (those involving multiple workers) at the Reconciliation and Arbitration Committee for individual and collective cases.
Should you have any concerns to be raised against your employer (applicable only for those in the private sector), it would be helpful to take note of the following process:
- The worker must proceed to the reception desk of the Labour Relations Department to obtain a labour complaint application. At this point, the worker does not need to be accompanied by a legal representative, but may access this benefit during subsequent processes if the case has been considered.
- Fill out the form provided. The form will require your full name, nationality, civil ID number, work starting date, date of last day at work, legal grounds for filing the complaint, profession, agreed wage in the contract, full name of employer, employer’s address and place of work, purpose of dispute, and phone Furthermore, the worker must provide the following documents (photocopy and original) to support their claim:
- Work permit
- Civil ID
- Valid and latest passport
- Other supporting documents (as requested)
- Once the complaint has been lodged at the Labour Relations Department, the unit will register the complaint into the database and determine a competent legal investigator as well as the date (day and hour) of an initial hearing to consider the complaint. The attendance of both the worker and the employer will be required on the day of the initial hearing.
- The Labour Relations Unit will then contact the investigator, who may gather statements from the employer and check documentation.
- Both the worker and the employer will be required to appear in person before the competent investigator at the Public Authority of Manpower (PAM) and Labour Relations Department in their registered governorate. At this stage, the worker may be accompanied by a legal representative.
Note: In the event that the employer does not appear, the investigator will issue a second notification, after which the investigator should proceed with examining the complaint.
- At the hearing, if both parties agree to settle the matter amicably, the case will be documented in a memorandum and filed with the Labour Relations Department.
- However, when there is no settlement or agreement reached, the investigator shall prepare a legal statement of the fact. If the unsettled dispute involves a financial claim, the case shall be referred to the judiciary.
- The investigator will be required to review and close any complaint within a specified period (usually up to two weeks). During this period, the investigator is legally liable for any unjustifiable delay.
- After such, the investigator will submit a formal legal opinion regarding the case to the Labour Relations Department, which will then issue the final decision whether to accept or reject the worker’s complaint.
- Upon the release of the decision of the Labour Relations Department, either the worker or the employer may appeal the decision within 15 days of its issuance.
Disclaimer: The information shared in this article is only for information-sharing purposes only. Should you have any specific concerns regarding work or your employer, you may check with the Ministry of Interior’s official website or consult with your respective embassy in the State.