Friday, January 08, 2010

Kuwait's Labor Laws

I haven't thought much about current events since I've been here, but Kuwait is continuing to modify its labor laws. First there is this:
"The Kuwaiti parliament passed a new labour law to guarantee better rights and conditions for its over 2.3 million foreign workers. However, its controversial sponsor system remains...

"Workers serving in the private sector would see more rights under the new law, including better annual leave and end of service indemnities and holidays.

"There are also stricter punishments including jail terms, for those who trade in visas or recruit expatriate workers and do not provide them with jobs, or fail to regularly pay their salaries."

Although enforcement will be a key, this law seems aimed to end abuses of the current system without altering the fundamentals of that system itself. Meanwhile, there's another example of reforms induced by a labor exporting country:
"Indonesia is likely to lift a ban it slapped last September on sending workers to Kuwait following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would help improve migrant workers' conditions...

"The memorandum is expected to include the introduction of a mandatory monthly minimum wage and a weekly holiday for Indonesian workers and will put an end to employers retaining workers' passports...

"Many Indonesian workers in Kuwait have complained that they could not leave the country after facing problems mainly because of the lack of cooperation from their sponsors, he said. Citing increasing problems confronting Indonesian domestic staff in Kuwait, Jakarta last September banned the employment of its nationals in the Gulf state."

The article mentions that 600 housemaids are currently sheltering at the Indonesian embassy in Kuwait City.



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