I know that I write about employment law more than any other law, primarily because I have more experience dealing with commercial laws, but also because I believe that there is a lot of ground for improvement. The law itself is written with many benefits for the employee, making sure that employees cannot be taken advantage of, but there are other issues that go alongside the law. The law has to be accessible – people need to know what they are getting into when they take a bold step of leaving their hometowns to come and work in Kuwait. I hope that one day, the law will be more accessible to all employees working in Kuwait and employers as well.
Question: My understanding is that the first 100 working days are a probation period, which means I can leave my work at any time. Yet if I can leave within the first 100 days, then how come I cannot transfer my visa in Kuwait? I have been brought in from my country for this job and I believe I deserve 100 days to try the job out, as well as to see if life in Kuwait will suit my needs.
Fajer: The visa laws/bylaws in Kuwait are separate from the Kuwait labor law, and unfortunately the visa law does not allow transfers during the probation period, which is something I think the officials should consider. I understand that the reason transfers are not allowed unless a certain period has passed is because many employers lose money bringing non-Kuwaitis into Kuwait and training them. But I also know that the law has placed a three-month notice period for contracts without a period, and for those with a period, there are consequences as well. So for now, unfortunately, you cannot transfer within your probation period if you are coming to Kuwait to work for a certain employer.
Also, there is a huge misconception in the public that the probation period is three months or that it is even 100 days – it is actually 100 working days. If you work 22 days a month, your proportion period is then a little under five months.
Question: Since you are a lawyer with experience in commercial and employment law, what are the most common mistakes that people make, or that your clients make, which can be avoided in the future?
Fajer: This is a very broad question. Instead of focusing on the mistakes one can make (there are too many to enumerate), let us think about what actions an employee can do to protect themselves in the future. Some of the most common are:
1. If you are going to resign, do it in writing.
2. If your boss agrees to your resignation, get it in writing.
3. If your boss makes any statement that can affect you in the future legally, get it in writing.
4. Read your contract carefully.
5. Ask for a copy of your contract.
6. Check your work permit.
7. Always try to figure things out amicably.
I have plenty of articles available on the Legalese section of the Kuwait Times website www.KuwaitTimes.com – please read them.
I hope the above helped. If you have a concern, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Attorney Fajer Ahmed