By Attorney Fajer Ahmed
As an employer, we have so many responsibilities right now. We are thinking of how to pay the rent, how to move our business forward, how to secure our employees’ rights, how we can support the community and so on. Most importantly we are thinking of how we can move forward and be sustainable in the long term.
It is difficult to plan ahead for the long term when we cannot predict the near future. There is currently a shift in the economy, with so many businesses losing traction while others surprisingly are booming. I have received so many questions from business owners, and will be answering them this week.
Question: Can I terminate employees right now as my business is not doing well and I am not sure I can keep paying my staff?
Attorney Fajer: Please note that your employees also have obligations and responsibilities and families to feed, so reconsider this, unless you are in absolute distress, then if you are to terminate, terminate according to Kuwait Labor Law providing a three-month notice. It is important at this time, more than any other time, to follow Kuwait Labor law.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if your employees are not coming into work:
- Have them work from home utilizing many online services such as Zoom, Slack, Skype, etc.
- Try to use the time of your employees to conduct research your business has always needed.
- Think creatively of how else you can serve your clients, providing them with tips or creative ideas to do at home, while still delivering goods for orders received online.
- Provide packages for online delivery, for example, if you operate a bookstore, you can do a box for the family, or if you operate an art supply store, provide a box with art supplies and instructions on activities.
- Sell gift cards with flexible expiration dates, so that people can gift them in quarantine and you have a cash flow coming in.
Question: Do I have to pay my rent? I cannot pay the rent for this month as I was forced to shut down.
Attorney Fajer: Please discuss this with your landlord; so many landlords are being lenient and providing discounts or a grace period. If you cannot pay the rent, please let your landlord know in writing using a legal notice.
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