Saturday, August 15, 2009

Follow example of other GCC, Arab states over new labor law’

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 14: Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has stressed the need to follow in the footsteps of other GCC and Arab countries in the implementation of the new private sector labor law, reports Al-Anba daily quoting sources.
Underlining the importance of carefully studying the economic and social dimensions of the new private sector labor law prior to its enactment, KCCI highlighted significant differences between the stipulations of this law and those currently implemented in three GCC countries and one Arab nation, indicating it is better to follow the example of these countries as their situation is similar to that of Kuwait. Pointing out the new labor law stipulates 40 working hours per week, while the official work hours in the four countries is 48 hours a week, KCCI argued this will increase recruitment costs by around 20 percent. For instance, if there are around 1,200,000 expatriate workers, the country needs to hire 240,000 additional workers to compensate for the reduction of work hours and this will cost K865 million annually.

On the termination of workers due to excessive absences, the new labor law allows employers to fire employees in case the latter fail to report for work for 15 consecutive days or 30 non-consecutive days, compared to seven days and 15 days respectively in the four countries. Overtime payment mentioned in the new labor law is double while the four countries pay only 25 percent. In case the employees are required to work on their day-off, the new labor law stipulates double payment plus their regular pay or an alternative day-off, compared to 150 percent or alternative day-off in the four countries.
On the pilgrimage leave, the new labor law grants workers 21 days paid pilgrimage leave after staying with the company for one year, but in the four countries, this leave is not paid or in some cases workers are granted paid pilgrimage leaves only after five years in service, while others grant this privilege based on seniority.

KCCI said the four countries have no stipulations on the termination of employees with justification and granting paid leaves to female workers in case of the death of their husbands.
The new labor law also gives employers right to terminate indefinite labor contracts, provided the concerned workers are informed three months prior to the termination, while the grace period in the four countries is only one month.
Based on the abovementioned comparisons, KCCI underscored the need to further study stipulations of the new labor law, as well as the proposed amendments through an objective comparison with the existing labor laws in the four countries. KCCI went on to argue that any difference in conditions or labor levels will only add to the burdens of workers and harm the economy of the country as well as various societal sectors.
KCCI also affirmed its willingness to support the government through consultations and deliberations on the issuance of related decisions.

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