Eid Mubarak to everyone and I hope you are all enjoying your holidays. Eid is a Muslim holiday that means festival. There are two Eids – one that falls right after Ramadan – Eid Al-Fitr, and the second Eid that we are celebrating now called Eid Al-Adha. Religious celebrations can be a lovely time for friends and families to spend their holidays together, sharing food, music, fashion, playing games, and more importantly bonding over quality time.
Last week I spoke about women’s rights in my column and I am very grateful over the feedback that I received, I know I promised to continue the discussion, but since it’s Eid today, I thought I will discuss matters related to the Eid holidays that should be helpful to my readers. I know I have a large expat readership that might not get to celebrate Eid with the family or might not be Muslims and therefore do not celebrate Eid, and therefore I wanted to make things clear for them.
Question: How many days off am I entitled to for Eid? My boss says I only get three days and I should be grateful that I am even getting days off since I am not a Muslim. Is this true?
Fajer: The religion that a person practices has no legal implications on the days off that a person is entitled to. With that said, according to the Kuwait labor law, all employees of the private sector are entitled to three days off for Eid Al-Adha, but are also entitled to one day off for Waqfat Arafat, which is a day right before Eid Al-Fitr (Sunday).
Therefore, Sunday to Wednesday are the official holidays for the private sector, and since Thursday is a working that falls between two holidays, as Friday is a day off for the majority of people, many companies are giving Thursday off as well. The public sector officially has Sunday to Thursday off as well.
Please note that this is a fully paid holiday by law. In accordance to Article 68 of the Kuwait labor law, the official paid holidays are as follows:
a- Hegira New Year: 1 day
b- Isra’ and Mi’raj day: 1 day
c- Eid Al-Fitr: 3 days
d- Waqfat Arafat: 1 day
e- Eid Al-Adha: 3 days
f- Prophet’s (PBUH) Birthday (Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi): 1 day
g- National Day: 1 day
h- Gregorian New Year: 1 day
Working on Eid
Question: I am working on Eid for the whole week. Do I get paid overtime and how much do I get paid for it? My boss says since I work in the food and beverage industry, we have to stay open and I am forced to work on the holidays.
Fajer: Article 68 says the following about all paid holidays: “In the event where the worker is required to work during any of the above mentioned holidays, he shall be entitled to double remuneration and an additional day off.” This means that you should not only get an extra day off, but be paid twice your daily pay for working on Eid. For example, if your monthly salary is KD 500, that means you get paid KD 19.3 a day (that is KD 500 ÷ 26 working days a month), and if you work on Eid, then you should get an extra KD 19.3 this month for every Eid day you have worked.
Question: I understand that because we live in a Muslim country, we are entitled to days off for Muslim holidays, but I am a practicing Christian and would really enjoy to have a few days off for Christmas instead.
Fajer: As I mentioned above, by law you are entitled to the holidays mentioned in Article 68 and not for Christmas Day. But as I mentioned above as well, you get paid overtime as well as an extra day off for working on a holiday, so I suggest you talk to your boss and/or HR department and request a day off for Christmas. Many companies are understanding about their employees’ needs and do give days off for Christmas. Hopefully that works out for you.
I wish you all a festive holiday regardless of your religious beliefs. Please remember to enjoy your time and respect those around you. Stay safe and legal.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed