I spent the last week working from Silicon Valley, meeting with lawyers from big corporations such as Google, HP, Facebook, Airbnb and so on. Working in Silicon valley is lucrative, high paid salaries, freedom with hours of work, free food, free dry cleaning, free bikes and transportation and endless other perks. The company was investing in the employees in return the employees were investing their time (their lives) into the company and also receiving shares, what a fabulous thing to see. Which got me thinking about the unfortunate policies that I have seen some companies in Kuwait or the GCC work with, forcing employees to work overtime, or taking their passports away, not providing salaries on time and so on. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend money on employees then to spend money on lawyers fighting cases in court?
I am writing this in hope that at least one CEO or Human Resources manager will read this and understand that the team is the most valuable asset. I don’t expect companies in Kuwait to have arcades for their employees, but to at least follow the law! I also hope to inspire those employees that are working with violations or in a negative environment to be brave enough to understand the laws to change their job. Here are a few laws or rights that you would need to know should you want to change your job.
Question: When can you change your job?
Attorney Fajer: It is easiest through the probation period and before the completion of the 100 working days. Please note there is a common misunderstanding that the probation period is 90 days or three months or 100 days (not working days, which makes a difference).
If you have a closed ended contract (specific time period) you would need to check the contract to see what the notice period is. It is very common in Kuwait to have the notice period for three months, but it is possible that there is no notice period in your contract.
If you have an open ended contract (without a specific time period), the notice period is three months by law.
Question: How do I inform my company I am leaving?
Attorney Fajer: This is very important. Please make sure you let your company know that you are resigning in writing. If your company has clear labor law violations, inform your lawyer and they can assist you with drafting the resignation letter.
Question: Where do I make complaints of Kuwait labor law violations?
Attorney Fajer: At bigger corporations, you might find it helpful to read the companies’ policies as they may have policies in place for complaints, and usually the person to complain to would be working in Human Resources. If you are of the opinion that HR is not helpful or if you do not have such an option, speak to your lawyer and file a complaint in Shoon (Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor).
I hope that as many people as possible are happy with their work, are doing something they enjoy and that is rewarding.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed