Kuwait Law: Some information on the New Home Business License

Post by Fajer Ahmed

A lot of you might of heard about the new home business license that was supposed to be available starting August 1st (I posted about it). I went last week to the Kuwait Business Center and they informed me that it was not yet available, but should be soon. I did manage to get some more information from them that might be useful for those of you that want to start a home businesses (this information is not official yet, but I did receive it verbally from one of the managers at KBC)

1) You will be able to register for the license online

2) You will need to register an address which can be a postal code address, email or law firm office

3) Types of business have not been announced yet, but they will have 59 options to choose from

4) Business owner will not be able to register under Public Institution for Social Security or receive any social allowances either

5) The company license will be included under sole proprietorship only (one person company), and will not be able to employ workers under the business

6) This is only available for Kuwaitis

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and my team or I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Amendments to the Kuwait Labor Law

Post by Fajer Ahmed

Major legal changes to the Kuwait Labor Law (6/2010) were issued today (July 9) and they’re to the benefit of employees. I have simplified the most important points and explained them below:

When can you apply for a holiday (paid leave)?
Previously: You can apply for leave after working for 9 months
Now: You can apply for leave after working for 6 months

How do you calculate the amount of leave days you have?
Previously: 6 days a week, even if Saturdays are not working days
Now: 5 days a week, employer can’t include weekends
The minimum amount of leave days a year by law is 30 days. With the new law if you take 30 days off that would amount to a total of 6 weeks since weekends can no longer be included in your leave.

Termination indemnity for Kuwaitis
Previously: When you quit your job the company would deduct the amount they paid towards your social security from your severance package
Now: Employer cannot deduct you social security payments from your severance package
Some companies are now issuing cheques for the previous employees with the amounts they had deducted

Kuwait is progressing noticeably and these new updates to the labor law are a great change.

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and my team or I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.

Photo by Mohammed AlSultan


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Kuwait Law: Home Businesses Can Now Be Licensed

Post by Fajer Ahmed

New bylaws were passed yesterday that now allow some businesses to operate legally with a license from their homes (aka home business). There are some requirements to obtain this license including the following:

– Kuwaitis only can apply for a home license
– Must be older than 21 years old
– You need permission from the home owner
– The license is mostly for services such as designers, calligraphist, illustrators, photographers, web and app developers, watchmakers, gardeners, technicians, event planners, translators, museums, and so on.
– No cupcakes, or burgers or any other food businesses can be licensed from homes

The Ministry of Commerce does not want to turn residential areas into commercial areas, they still want homes to be homes but a lot of businesses don’t involve a lot of interaction with customers or require customers to come over and so it doesn’t make sense that those businesses require a commercial space. The ministry has stated that the above law will come into effect first day after Eid.

I want to dedicate this post to my dear friend Ahmed Al Gharabally who recently passed away. Ahmed was a lobbyist and an activist that worked really hard on bringing this law to life through @legalizekw, a campaign that was launched to make home business in Kuwait legal. May you RIP Ahmed. It is great to see young Kuwaitis actively suggest new laws, and the new and young minister of commerce and industry Mr. Khaled Al Roudhan has done a wonderful job listening to their suggestions and attending their events.

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and my team or I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Food Trucks are Now Legal

Post by Fajer Ahmed

I just heard the great news today, a bylaw has been approved from the municipality to allow food trucks to operate with a license. I know many of my clients are going to be happy as previously only restaurants with a physical location were allowed to have food trucks. This is great news for Kuwait but I hope they don’t put a limit to the number of food trucks like other GCC countries (one country only allows 10 at a time!).

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and my team or I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Positive reforms in Kuwait for SME’s

Post by Fajer Ahmed

I know it has been a while since I have written here, but I have been busy at the law firm that I established last year. It has been very busy since. But, I want to share with you the positive changes happening in Kuwait in regards to SME’s (small and medium enterprises that have a capital of less then KD500,000 or less then 50 employees).

You might have seen the wonderful and colorful logo of New Kuwait or Kuwait 2035, the logo has been proudly displayed on governmental buildings, e-goverment websites and other major projects. New Kuwait is Kuwait’s National Development Plan that according to their website “sets the nation’s long-term development priorities. It is organized around five themes, or desired outcomes, and seven pillars, or areas of focus for investment and improvement.” In short they want Kuwait to be in the top 35% of the world in the Global Indicator Rankings (I know how much Mark enjoys sharing rankings!)

So what are these positive changes so far legally? They are too many to include in one post but I want to speak today about positive changes in legislations and bylaws. We have had amazing changes for SME’s and of course as a reflection of these legal changes we are seeing restaurants, speciality coffee shops, kaftan designers, apps and so on pop up at a tremendous rate, some with high success rates. Here are some of the changes I wanted to highlight:

1) Fairly New Company Law (2016) – Some important changes were made, one of them is that there is now such a thing as NPC – non-profit companies and the other being that we now have a one person company that is referred to as a sole proprietorship.

2) Kuwait Business Center – A one stop center to establish companies in Kuwait. Every time I visit the center there is new positive changes and I have had an overall great experience for my clients. Unfortunately, some of my clients found it difficult to find the location. It is located in Eshbilaa Coop which is out of the way from Kuwait city, but they have new signs up now (with encouraging words). KBC claim that the new process takes 5 days, from my experience with clients I would say that you will need to allow yourself two weeks. [kbc.gov.kw]

3) KDIPA – Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority is an authority in Kuwait that was established to encourage foreign companies to invest in Kuwait. One of the changes they brought forward was that you can now establish a company in Kuwait without a Kuwaiti partner. This isn’t available to all companies, just ones that meet KDIPA’s criteria. [kdipa.gov.kw]

4) Kuwait SME Fund – An independent public corporation that has allocated 2 billion Kuwaiti Dinars to finance SME’s in Kuwait. The fund finances up to 80 percent of capital for SME’s submitted by Kuwaiti nationals.

I hope to see reforms in other parts of Kuwait’s legal system, especially for employment laws and bylaws.

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and my team or I will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Alcohol in Kuwait

Post by Fajer Ahmed

woodford

Hello everyone, its holiday season and since I know a lot of people are going to be consuming alcoholic beverages over the holidays, I thought I would just post a reminder about alcohol in Kuwait.

Alcohol in Kuwait can be very confusing to foreigners as there are alcohol related restrictions and crimes, yet the act of drinking in itself is not illegal. The middle east as a region in general has many alcohol restrictions compared to other regions around the world. Even a place like Dubai which is known to have a big party and drinking scene has restrictions on alcohol consumption and international lawyers have written about UAE laws claiming them to be “strict”.

In Kuwait drinking alcohol privately is not illegal, but buying and/or selling, bringing alcohol to a public place, or being intoxicated in public areas are all crimes. What happens when you are caught in public with alcohol? If you are a first time offender then most likely you will be kept at the police station until you sober up. I am assuming you weren’t driving and you did not hurt anyone. If you aren’t a first time offender and other people have been hurt then you could face a fine or jail time.

Please be very careful this holiday season and do not do anything illegal. I’ve seen many expats that have been accused of alcohol related crimes because they weren’t aware of the specifics of the local laws and instead were comparing the law in Kuwait to their countries law. One person that was pulled out of a taxi by police because he was intoxicated was really confused, his claim was that “I was not driving”. Although in developed countries being intoxicated is a crime while driving only, in Kuwait being intoxicated is a crime in public or even in private if you could be seen by someone in public. So being intoxicated in a car is a crime even if they weren’t driving. For more details on the different laws related to alcohol in Kuwait, check out my previous post.

Stay safe everyone and respect other cultures and religions, I wish you and your family a great holiday.

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Wasta

Post by Fajer Ahmed

gotwasta

I was having dinner last week with my Khaleeji friend Ghanim, and as usual we like to compare traditions and customs. It is nice to understand the differences, but one thing he said struck me. “Fajer, I heard that everything in Kuwait is done by wasta, you want to find a job? Wasta. You want a contractor to build a house? Wasta. You want to buy that bag? Wasta. I know wasta is an issue that people avoid in all of the Middle East and not just Kuwait, but it seems the situation is out of control in Kuwait”.

Now it is no surprise that we have wasta in Kuwait, reference to it is all over the place (does anyone remember the Got Wasta t-shirts?!). But somehow over the past few years, wasta turned from an unethical tool used for serious matters to a normal way of life to get anything done. Lets take a step back.

What is wasta? According to Wikipedia, it is an Arabic word referring to using one’s connections and/or influence to get things done. And how bad is wasta? It sounds negative in Western media when referring to Arabic culture, but is that really the case?

I usually refrain from sharing opinions and stick to facts, but I really think that the word wasta is too broad and can refer to acts with positive and/or negative consequences.

Wasta that has a negative impact on society can be a very serious issue, it can prevent people from receiving their rights, because those rights are passed on to someone with a stronger connection, a stronger wasta. How does the Kuwait law resolve this? First of all it is very hard to prove wasta in a small society like Kuwait, but if it is proven that the favorable act was done by a public employee causing damage to another person, then the public employee could be punished. For example, your uncle works in the government entity and he makes you “Assistant Star Gazer” even though there was someone else who was more qualified for that position. Your uncle could face up to three years jail time for that. This law only applies to public sector employees since wasta is not considered a crime in the private sector. But, employees in the private sector could get punished by their employer.

As for me, I believe that it is great to collaborate and network, be nice to others and do favors, but never do I do anything that might effect another person’s life negatively. What are your thoughts? Let me know.

For any legal inquiries, please email me on ask@fajerthelawyer.com and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Online Harassment

Post by Fajer Ahmed

It’s no secret that Mark (and I) have an online presence and therefore we are a target of online harassment. It so easy for some people to sit behind a computer and put out their issues in negative comments. Mark (and I) believe in freedom of speech, and always let people say what they want on the blog or via email, just like Mark (and I) are enjoying our freedom of speech with our posts, we want the same for our readers. Unfortunately though Mark (and I) have both received unnecessary threats from a person or two.

What can you do if you face the same situation? What can you do if someone comments on your twitter “I want to beat the **** out of you”. People think that because they are behind a computer no one can find out who they are! It is as if they didn’t know that Kuwait has a Cyber Crime department under the Ministry of Interior, that is highly capable of finding out where the person is located, what device they are using and other information. (They once found a criminal on behalf of my client in Morocco).

If you are facing any type of online harassment you need to go to the said department located in Salmiya across from the new Boulevard Mall. You will fill out a paper, and you will need to show them the comment. They will gather all the information from you and start an investigation, within 10 days if the person that commented is in Kuwait he/she will be called in for an investigation.

What charges is the person going to face? There is a few different crimes that I could write in my brief to the court but the easiest would be in reference to Article 6 of Law 63 of 2015 famously dubbed as the “Cyber Crime Law” (it has a more complicated name) and I don’t want to complicate things as the law refers to another law, but the person could easily face a KD 3,000 to KD 10,000 fine.

Of course once the criminal court passes the final judgment, Mark could file a civil case and ask for compensation as well. Good thing though the law forgives those who apologize or notify authority before any serious damage is done. Be careful with what you say guys and remember to be nice to each other. We all have difficult situations in our life and sometimes its so easy to let out our frustration on someone else. But we really need to respect each other more. If you have gone through a similar situation email me, I would love to hear from you. Stay legal guys.

Feel free to email me ask@fajerthelawyer.com with any legal questions. I do not have the capacity to answer everyone for free (but I try), and I am happy to announce that I am currently working with a great team and therefore we are able to reply back to all emails with a reasonable time frame.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Termination Indemnity/End of Service Benefits

Post by Fajer Ahmed

terminated

I am writing this in the simplest terms possible (and not in legal jargon) because I want to make the law simple and understandable by all.

Here is a simple guide to calculating your termination indemnity (for private sector employees):

Payment Method

Who terminated the contract

Years Worked

Days Paid

monthly

you were terminated

Less than 5 years

15 days per year

monthly

you were terminated

more than 5 years

one month per year

monthly

you terminated the contract

3 to 5 years

1/2 of 15 days per year

monthly

you terminated the contract

5 to 10 years

2/3 of one month per year

monthly

you terminated the contract

more than 10 years

one month per year

daily or weekly

you were terminated

Less than 5 years

10 days per year

daily or weekly

you were terminated

more than 5 years

15 days per year

daily or weekly

you terminated the contract

3 to 5 years

1/2 of 10 days per year

daily or weekly

you terminated the contract

5 to 10 years

2/3 of 15 days per year

daily or weekly

you terminated the contract

more than 10 years

15 days per year

Please note the following:

– You are being paid by days. Your end of service is an x amount of working days. So it is important how to calculate how much your day is worth. For those paid on a monthly basis you divide your salary by 26 even if you only work 20 days a month (unless your policies and regulations at work are different, giving you less working days a month)

– If you are Kuwaiti, you still deserve end of service benefits, but your social security amounts accured towards your company will be deducted.

– You have one year since the day you leave work to ask for your end of service benefits.

– If you are ending the contract then I am assuming you have an indefinite contract

If you are having any issues with your employer, please email me ask@fajerthelawyer.com. I have made a promise to myself to personally get back to everyone within 24 hours (unless it is the weekend)!

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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Kuwait Law: Termination Questions

Post by Fajer Ahmed

contract

I know it has been a while since I posted my answers publicly, but I am still reading your questions and responding to your emails. I really do enjoy interacting with you and I feel so grateful that I am able to help people by making law simple and more accessible. So thank you.

I recently had a question by a reader which and I thought I would answer here. I rewrote the question to make it easier for everyone to understand but the gist of it is the same.

Question: So I had an argument with my manager, and now he is saying that business isn’t that great so I am going to be fired. So I ask him for a 3 month notice period as its my right and he refuses, says he will discuss it with his lawyer.

1) Do I get my 3 month salary for the notice period on a monthly basis or all in one payment after transferring my residency to another company?

Usually when you are terminated because of “restructuring” then they either ask you to stay three months and work, and if so you get paid each month separately. Or they pay you three months in bulk although the law didn’t specify when you should be paid, there are things to be careful about.

First be very careful about signing any documents, although illegal, it is common practice in Kuwait for companies to refuse to transfer your papers unless you sign a document stating that you no longer have any monetary rights with their employer i.e. they have received all the money owed to them. This prevents employees from filing lawsuits in the future asking for their notice period, termination indemnity, etc

Second if your boss asks you not to come in to work for the next three months but will continue to pay you, ASK FOR IT IN WRITING. Some employers will verbally ask their employees not to come in and then file an absconding case against them.

Always ask your employer to hand you a resignation letter in writing which includes the reason of termination.

2) If I leave after 3 months I’d have completed 21 months in the company, do I get my indemnity or leave balance?

Yes you are entitled to termination indemnity. If the employer terminated the employee or the contract ended, the employee is entitled to his full termination indemnity which is calculated as 15 days per year (adducing you are in the private sector and you receive a monthly payment). How do you calculate the 15 days?

You divide your salary by 26 days, and then times the number by 15 days for the first year. Then times that number by 1.75 because you worked 3 quarters of a year for the additional 9 months that you worked. I know calculating termination indemnity can be difficult so I will write a separate post for that next week.

Feel free to email me ask@fajerthelawyer.com with any legal questions. I do not have the capacity to answer everyone for free (but I try), and I am happy to announce that I am currently working with a great team and therefore we are able to reply back to all emails with a reasonable time frame.

Post by Fajer Ahmed – Legal Counsel
The legal opinions expressed in this post are those of the author Fajer. Opinions expressed by Mark or any other writer on 248am.com are those of the individual’s and in no way reflect Fajer’s opinion.


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