Fake employment

Muna Al-Fuzai

Kuwait provides citizens financial support to encourage them to join the private sector to reduce the employment rate in the government sector, but the implementation of this policy must be done in cooperation with the private sector. The problem is that some companies in the private sector are trying to manipulate the law despite government control and procedures, as well as penalties. There have been cases of cheating and deceit by some companies that grant citizens half of the basic salary on the condition that they do not come to work and stay home. This has resulted in the phenomenon of disguised unemployment, which has disastrous consequences on the actual employment of citizens and expatriates, so the government must act strictly.

In January, the minister of social affairs and labor revealed the existence of 60 companies that are not present in their licensed addresses, which were monitored during inspections and follow-up by the Public Authority for Manpower, adding out that the total number of such companies discovered over the past seven months reached 270. Their files were suspended until their situation is modified. The minister pointed out that these campaigns aim to monitor violations and regulate the labor market, as such companies cause the spread of fake laborers who are in violation of residency laws and constitute a danger to the security of society.

I believe that the time has come to address this issue. Many decisions have been taken to deal with fake employment, but to this day this dangerous phenomenon has not been eliminated, especially with regards to real employment and the importance of distinguishing between the two.

Recently, the head of the Masrafi banking group Faisal Al-Kandari said that for a long time he has been demanding and suffering from illusory employment that violates and wastes public funds. Kandari asked why is the real employee in the private sector being harassed and why measures aren’t being taken against companies that manipulate quotas to avoid fines imposed by the state.

In July 2016, the residency authority arrested the owner of a local company and his accountants who were accused of bank fraud and abusing public funds. According to a tipoff it received, the company had won a private tender, but one of the tender conditions was the recruitment of Kuwaiti security officers. A number of female citizens were employed on a salary of KD 230 per month, but the management of the company seized their bank cards with the aim of withdrawing their salaries immediately after depositing them, which prompted the employees to report the case to the police. They arrested the manager and accountants, who admitted to the crime. They said they wanted to prove to the labor authority that the women were receiving their salaries to prevent the suspension of the company’s file. The company also took advantage of the labor support allowance to pay insurance and monthly subscriptions.

Also, some expatriates change their residencies from housewives, for example, to employees for a sum of money, but in fact they do not work for the company. These expatriates may hold real and valid residencies, but they do not have a real job and therefore struggle to survive, especially since they often paid large sums to come to Kuwait. Some pay around KD 1,000 to renew their residency every year and do not have any business relationship with the company that brought them to Kuwait.
This reality must be eliminated by intensifying procedures, follow-up, inspection and control to distinguish between real and fake employees. One of the suggestions to end this situation is by forcing companies to pay the labor support allowance with the basic salary, to be offset by the restructuring program and supporting companies that pay salaries to employees. Kuwait has signed several agreements aimed at protecting workers and preserving their rights and benefits. Those who attempt to trade the rights of workers, whether citizens or expatriates, must be stopped and punished.

By Muna Al-Fuzai

This article was published on 01/09/2018