This week must have been a rollercoaster of feelings for both Filipinos in Kuwait and the Kuwaitis that have Philippines closely in their lives. Kuwaitis have always had very close ties to the Philippines, while there are around 260,000 Filipinos in Kuwait presently. Some families have Filipino nannies that raise their kids, and many Kuwaiti small business owners have Filipinos managing their restaurants. They are teachers, doctors, engineers, cleaners, hairdressers and so on – I could go on about the job descriptions of the many Filipinos I meet on a daily basis. Our lives are intertwined within society and we influence each other greatly.
I have faith in both the Kuwaiti and the Philippine government that they will both do what is best for their peoples and their economies. I therefore do not have any political opinions, but would like to make things clear from a legal aspect to both parties:
1. Regardless if your employee has decided to go home or for any reason is requesting to go home, please make sure you still pay them all their rights, such as end of service benefits.
2. Please understand that all employees have the right to leave their workspace at any time – salaries may be deducted but you cannot force them to stay somewhere, whether it is an office or a house. The Kuwaiti government does not support modern-day slavery.
3. Please refrain from keeping passports of employees – it is against the law.
4. Although not stated by the law, please always be kind, as hard as it may be at times.
A big thank you to all the expats in Kuwait that are working hard and providing us with services that are much needed, and a big thank you to all the Kuwaitis that have provided jobs and opened up their homes and businesses, trusting the expat community. It is very saddening to see negative remarks going both ways, when we have always had a loving and supportive environment in Kuwait (even though there have been negative and violent situations)! Please be kind and supportive.
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed