Navigating your way through laws across the Gulf can be a difficult task, none more so than labour laws.

Like the majority of other countries, Kuwait has its own set of rules and regulations that both employers and employees must be aware of in order to stay on the right side of the law. If they don’t, then serious consequences could result.

The first thing to note is that there is no stated minimum wage, so companies are within their rights to offer whatever salary they choose. This is generally paid on a monthly basis, but can be done every two weeks for individuals on a weekly or hourly wage.

An amount is specified in a contract between the employee and employer, which can also state a set figure on bonuses, incentives and benefits – such as housing. Workers may demand payment if their company fails to pay them accordingly.

Employees are required to work eight hours a day and 48 hours a week, with a one hour break for every five hours (this does not count towards time worked). The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour can allow this amount to be increased or decreased in specific instances – normally in the hospitality industry.

It is a legal requirement in Kuwait that men and women are paid the same for doing the same job. In terms of hours, however, females cannot work between 7pm and 6am. There are exceptions – for example – if a woman is employed in a clinic, pharmacy, hotel, nursery school, airline, tourist office and entertainment establishment.

Should a woman become pregnant, they are entitled to maternity days of up to 30 days prior to delivery, and 40 days thereafter. Should the need arise for additional time off, then a medical certificate is required.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the employer to provide a working environment free of physical hazards and occupational diseases. While it isn’t possible to avoid accidents altogether, precautions and procedures should be in place to minimise any potential risk.

Business of all sizes should take note of the labour laws in Kuwait, which are subject to changes, in order to ensure they are operating in a compliant way.

If you’re looking to expand your business to Kuwait, then get in touch with us for more expert advice.