Kuwait Law: Contractors

Post by Fajer Ahmed


I decided to be a lawyer because I strongly believe that if more people have their rights and get justice, kuwait would be a better place. Even though I am not really helping much, I am still humble and grateful that I get a chance to post here and create some sort of awareness (thank you kindly Mark). I know my topics might be negative lately, but remember I get inspired to write by the cases I have and the emails I receive.

Some of the companies out there are MONSTERS (not the cute ones like monster inc but more like I don’t know I am not really into sci-fi) but seriously some companies are evil.

I have noticed in the past few years an increase in cases dealing with contractors. Contractors are brought to Kuwait from their home country and put to work doing various jobs for companies or entities that are from their home country. These contractors are told that because they work for their countries Army or Navy or whatever, then Kuwaiti Labor Law doesn’t apply to them but their countries law does. NOT TRUE YOU EVIL ******!

If you are working as a contractor for I don’t care who in Kuwait, it doesn’t matter if it’s for the King of Utopia or Queen Elizabeth. If you have a working permit and you are registered under the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour then Kuwait Labour Law applies to you. So what does that mean?
You get paid overtime! I have noticed that some contractors have signed a contract that says they are willing to work 12 hours a day. Fortunately though, the law clearly states that the employee can not agree on something different than what the law states unless it’s beneficial for the employee (contractor). The law states maximum 8 hours, so unless you think working 12 hours a day without overtime is beneficial for you, you can ask for compensation for all your hard work. Also:

– The law also requires the sponsors to open a Kuwaiti bank account for contractors and transfer the contractors salary to the bank account. These sneaky companies pay the contractors in their bank accounts back home and deposit small amounts of money in a Kuwaiti bank account, making the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor believe that the contractor’s salary is a lot less than what they really make. Since compensation is based on salary, these contractors won’t be getting compensated fairly.

– Termination indemnity, yes you heard it right, contractors deserve termination indemnity in accordance to Kuwaiti Labor Law.

– Days off in accordance to Kuwaiti Labor Law.

– All other rights in accordance to Kuwaiti Labor Law (please read my labor law post for more information).

If you are a contractor and you are being mistreated and you want your rights, please let me know ask@fajerthelawyer (or any other 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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14 comments, add your own...

  1. Dude says:

    Fajer A. your awesome!

  2. Matt says:

    LOL. I wouldn’t want to be a manager at Camp Arifjan tomorrow.

    • Nunya says:

      12hr days can go jump in the lake. Period.

    • Abdul says:

      camp arifjan is a US military base,and military bases and embassies are the jursdiction of the country to which the military or embassy belongs to.so in that case i think Kuwait labor law dosent apply unless it is a local company who is the contractor and not the military.

  3. That was true of the past, with my last company they had began to follow the rules of Kuwait. Per American law we were paid regular for the first 8 hours and the remaining 4 were time and a half which is where the most money came from.

    As of 2013 we were given Kuwaiti holidays as well as American holidays off but were only given one day a week as an off day. When we quit we were also paid indemnity.

    They also have to provide a 90 day notice when they will fire an employee.

    KRH is the sponsor company and they still lie about the money being made on the salary certificate. It was once 900 KD but is now 500 KD although people are making 2500 KD and up. It always made problems for employees to do anything because of the low amount. Some companies had specifically requested them to write the correct amount and they provided them salary certs with amounts stating 2500 KD but only because the company requested.

    The companies are far from perfect but it is way better than before and getting 0 from them. I’m sure there are companies who don’t follow the rules and even have employees coming on visitor visas doing Bahrain visa runs every 3 months because the KRH file is full but as long as KRH finds wasta to get around the problems it will continue.

    That’s my 2 cents.

    • djelibaby2 says:

      I think ALL of that is high paid compared to most of the problems that are going on with various companies. I feel bad for labourers and ppl like that – 500 is a goldmine for some ppl

      • Well my question is simple. I remember reading in the Kuwait Times a while back that if your an hourly waged employee you are not entitled to indemnity. Is that true?
        Also, I feel that I have to state a fact that no one ever mentions when it comes to salaries for Westerners especially Americans. The glory days for US Government contractors went away after 2008. Even then most hourly salaries ranged about $13 to $18 an hour. Please understand the by the hour part. Unless your upper management your paid hourly salary and due to the geopolitical situation at the time between 2003 and 2008 there was massive overtime pay. This is what made it worth while for Americans to come here and work the Government Contract jobs. Even though the basic pay was 850 kd on average per month, well after overtime you were looking at anywhere from 1200 to 1800 kd per month. Now a days the average salary comes out to 850 kd a month without the overtime and barely is there overtime.
        Here come the important part. There is absolutely no way that you can compare the cost of living in a place like the USA to somewhere like India, Bangladesh, or even Egypt. 850 kd a month barely cuts it for a single person in the US let alone a person with a family.
        Average Rent for a studio flat: 130 kd- 200 kd (in the USA you have to normally pay for utilities even if it is a flat)
        Average rent for a one bed room flat: 200 kd -400 kd
        Average rent for a two bedroom flat: 300 kd and up
        Average utilities cost
        water: 20kd to 30kd a month
        electricity: 35kd and up a month
        gas: 50kd per fill up if needed

        Petrol: 0.230kd and up per litre
        medical insurance: 58kd and up if single 130kd and up if family plan. most of the time you will pay 7.290kd copayment everytime.
        vehicle payment: 120kd and up per month, depending on make and model
        vehicle insurance: 50kd and up a month, depending on make and model and how many people covered. this is limited liability by the way.

        This is all just basic expenses, do not forget to factor in your income tax, sales tax, property tax if you own any and your car tax as well. Factor in the fact that most Americans are deeply in debt so you have to look at how much they have to pay on debt. For example, the average university graduate is $120,000 in debt when they graduate and have to pay on average $1200 a month.

        so yeah 500kd is a gold mine for some but not for those who are making salaries at 850kd per month on average. Since the US job economy is really bad there is pretty much no choice for an American to settle for a 850kd a month salary. I mean at the end of the day who is it that get to go home to a nice bungalow and their own business after five to ten years of working in Kuwait?

  4. Anonymous says:

    The old labor law (prior to 2010) stated ‘this law doesn’t apply to you if your employer is clearly governed by another country’ — or something along those lines. It’s how US Contract companies were able to bypass the Kuwait labor law, write all of their employees as ‘exempt’, pay them a salary, and avoid indemnity.

    The change of the labor law in 2010 was either outright ignored by some US companies, or their HR departments just didn’t take the time to learn the new laws.

    Sadly, almost 5 years later, I still get emails from current and/or former US contractors almost daily (I got 3 today). They’re all victims of labor law violations and ask for someone to reach out to. I’m referring them all to you!

    Thank you, Fajer, for all you do. I’m certain you’re an amazing Attorney because you’re passionate about what you do. <3

    • ahmed says:

      Bottom line, if I were a country like Kuwait, who continues to get slammed by the US government yearly on their State Department Human Rights report, I would go after these US companies and blast them all over the press. Seems very hypocritical.

  5. Syed says:

    Thanks Fajer for the explanations.
    Can you write an article on rental laws? I am not sure if you did that already.

  6. Moustafa says:

    I think there should be an awareness campaign regarding the labor law as well as the rent laws.

    I think Fajer would be making a great service to a lot of people if she explains those laws in layman terms to everyone.

    Until someone with better knowledge than me does this, here is what I know.

    I am currently going through termination so I had to do some research and here is what I found (by the way I believe my company was very fair in calculating my indemnity)

    PLEASE TAKE WHAT I MENTION BELOW WITH A GRAIN OF SALT, I AM NOT A LAWYER AND BELOW IS MY UNDERSTANDING. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER MY COMPANY WAS BEING GENEROUS, BEING CAUTIOUS (since they terminated many people due to downsizing and not due to a fault of their own and had a couple of complaints filed against them), OR JUST BEING FAIR AND DOING IT BY THE BOOK:

    1- Indemnity

    I have been working with them for 9.5 years, I am entitled to an indemnity (I BELIEVE you are entitled to an indemnity if you spend at least 3 years with an employer).

    –The indemnity for the first five years of service is calculated as 15 days pay (15 days salary) for every year (and fraction of year, i.e. if you spend 3.5 years you deserve 3.5 x 15 days)
    –For the sixth year and up (and fractions of years) the indemnity is calculated as 30 days pay per year of service
    –Your day pay (daily salary) IS NOT YOUR MONTHLY SALARY DIVIDED BY TWO. Your monthly gross salary is calculated to include any allowances (so it is not just the basic salary mentioned in the work permit) AND includes any annual air ticket that they give you divided by 12 AND includes any medical insurance they provide for you and your family (annual cost of insurance/12) AND includes any bonus you received in the three years prior to termination divided by 36. (this last one came as a surprise to me)
    –Once your monthly gross salary is calculated, you divide it by 26 (since there are 26 working days per month), THIS is your daily salary that you multiply by 15 or 30 days per year of service. If you have Friday and Saturday off, then your monthly gross salary will be divided by 22
    –You deserve pay for any annual leave balance you still have at termination, however the daily salary for calculating this includes only allowances, not insurance/12 and not bonus/36

    –BEFORE THE EMPLOYER CAN CANCEL YOUR RESIDENCY, Ministry of labor requires that you personally attend and confirm to their representative that you received all your entitlements, I heard that they always take the side of the employee and can even block the file of the employer, so don’t be afraid to ask for your rights, but also do not abuse this privilige

    I hope the above helps people to better know their rights, and please if you have better knowledge about the labor law feel free to comment, correct or add to this.

  7. Moustafa says:

    Sorry forgot to mention one important note regarding the indemnity, you deserve full indemnity if you are terminated, however if you resign then you are entitled to only part of the indemnity:

    –If you resign after 10 or more years of service, you are still entitled to full indemnity
    –If you resign after 7 years of service but less than 10 years then you are entitled to 2/3 of the indemnity
    –If you resign after 5 (years of service but less than 7 years you are entitled to 1/2 of the indemnity
    –I don’t know what happens if you resign with more than 3 but less than 5 years, but I think it is still 1/2 of the indemnity

  8. American Expat says:

    Hello I’m an American expat working for The Logistics Company (TLC) from Fayetteville, North Carolina that has a contract at Camp Arifjan. TLC uses Kuwait Resources House (KRH) as its sponsor.

    Recently KRH asked TLC to have its employees in Kuwait to open a bank account and to start deducting their employees pay from the U.S. for the equivalent of (650KWD) and send it to an account belonging to KRH.

    Then KRH will deposit (650KWD) that TLC sends to them into each of the TLC’s employees that are working in Kuwait.

    When we asked our employer (TLC) why do we have to have our earned salary from the states deducted and send it to KRH instead? They (TLC) said, that the Kuwait Ministry was obligating KRH to show the Ministry that KRH is paying us (650KWD). When in fact that money already belongs to us from (TLC) when earned it.

    Therefore, our question as (TLC) employees in Kuwait, is it legal for a (non U.S. company) in Kuwait to have money wired to them from the United States that belongs to the employees of (TLC)?

    Any input you can provide is much appreciated.

    Thank you.

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