Ter­mi­na­tion and res­ig­na­tion for women

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By At­tor­ney Fa­jer Ahmed

Be­ing ter­mi­nated isn’t al­ways easy to deal with. On top of that, imag­ine be­ing ter­mi­nated be­cause you are a woman, you don’t speak the lan­guage, you don’t have fam­ily around you, you are in a for­eign coun­try and they won’t give you your rights. I know many of you have con­cerns about be­ing ter­mi­nated in Kuwait, and I know that many peo­ple know that em­ploy­ers don’t al­ways fol­low the law. It is a very tough sit­u­a­tion to be in, so I hope the ques­tions and an­swers men­tioned here are of help.

Il­le­gal rea­son

Ques­tion: I was ter­mi­nated for an il­le­gal rea­son. My ter­mi­na­tion let­ter says that I was be­ing ter­mi­nated be­cause I got mar­ried, which makes no sense. Are there laws in Kuwait that pro­tect women from such ac­tions? What are our rights as women? I feel like it is my right to get mar­ried, there was no men­tion of this in the con­tract. What can I do?

Fa­jer: Be­ing ter­mi­nated for get­ting mar­ried is il­le­gal and the law pro­tects you. Kuwait la­bor law has many ar­ti­cles that pro­tect women in the work­ing field. I have listed them be­low:

* Ma­ter­nity Leave Ma­ter­nity leave in Kuwait is for 70 days and is PAID. The leave days are NOT in­cluded in the em­ployee’s an­nual leave or other leaves!

The woman has to give birth within this pe­riod.

* Leave af­ter de­liv­ery Fe­male em­ploy­ees can re­quest non-paid leave of up to four months af­ter the 70-day ma­ter­nity leave. The re­quest has to be from the em­ployee.

* Ter­mi­na­tion The em­ployer may NOT ter­mi­nate the em­ployee while on ma­ter­nity leave or if the em­ployee is sick or had com­pli­ca­tions due to the de­liv­ery and needs ex­tra med­i­cal leave.

* Breast­feed­ing The em­ployee is al­lowed a two-hour break in or­der to breast­feed her new­born (it is not clear what the pro­vi­sions are though).

* Nurs­ery The em­ployer is OBLIGED to have a nurs­ery at work for or­ga­ni­za­tions with more than 50 fe­male em­ploy­ees or more than 200 em­ploy­ees in gen­eral. The nurs­ery is for chil­dren un­der four years of age. Un­for­tu­nately, there a lot of em­ploy­ers in Kuwait and around the world that do not want to hire mar­ried or preg­nant women, be­cause preg­nant women can be costly to them. For­tu­nately, there a lot of peo­ple speak­ing out about this and the laws have changed in the past years giv­ing more rights to women so they can start a fam­ily and also have a ca­reer.

I would sug­gest that you file a com­plaint at the Shuoon (Min­istry of La­bor and So­cial Af­fairs) for il­le­gal ter­mi­na­tion, es­pe­cially since you have a ter­mi­na­tion let­ter in writ­ing that says you are be­ing ter­mi­nated for get­ting mar­ried. If I was your lawyer, I would ne­go­ti­ate com­pen­sa­tion for you. If you go to court, the judge will give you com­pen­sa­tion for wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion.

Res­ig­na­tion

Ques­tion: I am re­sign­ing be­cause I am not be­ing treated well at work. This is be­cause I am work­ing over­time, am not get­ting days off and so on. Do you think it is the right step?

Fa­jer: No. I see peo­ple mak­ing this mis­take all the time. In­stead of sub­mit­ting the res­ig­na­tion to your em­ployer, I would much rather you sub­mit your res­ig­na­tion at the Shuoon stat­ing all the vi­o­la­tions that your em­ployer has done to­wards you. I usu­ally give this ad­vice to my clients be­cause when you re­sign, you are legally re­lin­quish­ing your rights, and if your rea­son for res­ig­na­tion is not doc­u­mented clearly, then you lose some of your rights, that de­pend­ing on your years of em­ploy­ment, can af­fect your ter­mi­na­tion in­dem­nity.

For any le­gal ques­tions or queries, email ask@fa­jerthelawyer.com

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