Individual Labor Disputes
In cases of individual labor disputes, the private sector labor law has laid down specific procedures to be followed for an individual to pursue a claim against their employers.
Any individual labor dispute should be submitted to MSA&L before the start of a law suit. The two parties will be called by the Ministry to have an amicable settlement. The Ministry will give both parties two weeks to reach a settlement. If no settlement is reached, the dispute will be referred to the Labor Court. The forwarded dispute will include the summary to the matter, evidences presented by both parties together with the Ministry’s own comments. The court will schedule a fix date for the hearing within three days and both parties will be notified.
The case will be heard in a summary manner. After the employment was terminated, a time limit of one year is given for filing cases. There is an exemption from the usual court fees for labour cases but if the employee loses then the court may order him to pay anominal amount on account of costs.
All regulations under the private sector labor law are issued at regular intervals. It becomes effective and binding once published in the official gazette, Al-Kuwait Alyoum.
MSA&L finalized a new labor law draft last July 1997. This includes changes in terminal indemnity, annual holidays, and sick leave. The number of sick leave was increased and the number of public holidays was extended to 12 Haj leave, compassionate leave and Idda leave for new widows. All these leaves are fully paid.
Salary payment is expected to be made mandatory within seven days of their due date and a new minimum wage is expected to be included in the new labor law. MSA&L announced in November 1999 that a revised draft law will be submitted to the Council of Ministers before the end of 1999 for approval.
Disputes and Civil Rights
Immigrants who experience difficulty in acquiring their work-related legal rights or other disputes can consult the Labor Departments at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. MSA&L has five labor departments. One of these departments handles labor disputes. Employees who wanted to file dispute should be directed to this department. The employee should provide the necessary documents that support the claim. The department then offer advice with regards to the case and follow the procedures mentioned on the previous pages.
Kuwait Trade Union Federation
The Kuwait Trade Union Federation is committed to prevent the abuse of immigrant or expatriate laborers. The Federation provides free of charge legal advices to laborers and assists them to take action against their employers.
Human Rights Committee (HRC) at the National Assembly handles complaints of any form and matter. Any complaints can be sent to the HRC through letter, fax, and phone call or by visiting the National Assembly building. If a person does not want to visit the National Assembly, he can call the Committee directly to discuss his concerns.
HRC focuses on immigrants who have a hard time in obtaining their passports from their employers. Immigrants are required to send a signed letter written in Arabic, stating the facts of their case, their civil ID, passport number, country of origin and the name of their employer. They can send it to the Committee by fax and will be treated in strictest confidence.