New Kuwait labour law to ban passport confiscation

The new law, which is expected to be enforced early 2016, will ban companies from holding their employees' passports, it has been found

Kuwait will ban companies from confiscating workers' passports. [Representational image]
Kuwait will ban companies from confiscating workers' passports. [Representational image]

Companies in Kuwait will no longer be allowed to withhold employees’ passports under new labour laws being written, according to Arabic daily Al Shahed.

A draft resolution is expected to be submitted to the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor and Minister of Planning and Development Hind Al- Subaih before the end of this month, the daily said, quoting ministry sources.

The change follows similar legislation amendments in Qatar, which has experienced heightened attention on its khafala system while thousands of South Asians are working on World Cup 2022 construction projects.

According to Arabian Business, under Kuwait’s planned new law, employees still would be prohibited from leaving the country without the approval of their sponsor and written travel permit from the newly established Public Authority for Manpower (PAM).

The authority, which was established to help better coordinate labour and expatriate issues, also is reportedly close to finalising a new labour contract, to come into force at the beginning of 2016.

Arab Times said under the new contract, the employer would be obliged to provide the worker with a flight home at the end of their employment, as well as health insurance and end of service indemnity.

The new contract also includes 21 paid days’ leave to perform Hajj for employees who have completed two years’ continuous service, provided the worker is performing Hajj for the first time.

A 100-day probation period would be mandatory, while the length of contract can be open or limited, as agreed between the employer and employee.

Described as a ‘unified contract’, it would protect the rights of both the worker and employer, Arab Times said. Any additional clause that does not concur with the labour law would be null and void, while any conflicts would be settled in court.

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