We have all been hearing/reading news lately on the millions of dollars owed by private companies in indemnity rights of their employees. Many people also think that because this is being discussed right now, it is a new law or regulation that has been promulgated. I have also had many clients and others emailing me wanting to know more information on this “new” law. This “law” being discussed is not yet a law, but I am not surprised that this issue is being discussed right now. Let me explain why.
Let’s backtrack and try to understand where all of this is coming from. Two years ago, an amendment to the employment law was published under law 85/2017 amending article 51 to clearly state that Kuwaitis have the right to their end of service benefits even if the employer is paying an amount for your retirement to the Public Institution for Social Security (PIFSS). When the law came out in 2017, it caused major concern to companies that have not been paying Kuwaitis their end of service benefits. The new law will cost these companies millions of dollars if they have to pay end of service benefits to all their previous employees.
Question: I keep being told by my company that I cannot get my indemnity because I am a Kuwaiti and the company has been paying a percentage to PIFSS. Is this true?
Fajer: As I have explained above, the law is very clear that Kuwaitis are entitled to end of service benefits, exactly as non-Kuwaitis are.
Question: What can I do in order to obtain my end of service benefits?
Fajer: This answer is for both Kuwaitis and non- Kuwaitis alike. I always advise my clients to first try and negotiate with their employer. If the employer does not want to negotiate, then ask your lawyer to negotiate on your behalf. If not, then your lawyer can go to court. Before your lawyer takes the issue to court, your lawyer will have to go through the ministry of social affairs and labor, which is also a safe place for both parties to negotiate. You can also go to MSAL yourself and file a complaint. It may be overwhelming for non-lawyers to do so, but if you find someone who is willing to help, the process can be done.
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By Attorney Fajer Ahmed