I hope my readers have a year ahead filled with blessings, love, joy and laughter. May this New Year be a blissful one to everyone. The state of Kuwait is celebrating the Islamic New Year today and it is a public holiday. I have received a few questions on this holiday in particular, and therefore I thought I would write a short article that hopefully would be useful to everyone.
Question: My boss said we can have the holiday on Thursday instead of Tuesday. I wanted to celebrate with my family on Tuesday. Does she have the right to change the date to Thursday? Someone at the office said it is very common that the this holiday in particular is moved to a Thursday.
Fajer: Generally speaking, your day off should be on the official day, which for this year is Tuesday, September 11th. Now if your boss requires you to work on Tuesday, she would need to pay you an overtime for Tuesday in addition to another day off, which is chosen to be on Thursday. Previously, the Islamic New holiday would be on a Sunday or Thursday and not in the middle of the week, but new regulations were implemented were the holiday needs to be on the exact date of the Islamic New Year and the same for the Gregorian New Year. The date cannot be moved to another date.
Question: We have had discussions at the office and we have agreed that Thursday should be the day off and we have all agreed to have Thursday off instead because we want to travel. Can I still ask for overtime even though I am the one that requested Thursday off?
Fajer: According to Kuwait’s labor law, all articles of the law should be implemented to the benefit of the employee and not the employer, and so there is some leeway when it comes to decisions that are requested by the employee him or herself. If this is what you have requested, then your boss should not be obliged to pay overtime.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed