How to Hire in Kuwait

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Hiring in Kuwait - Brief Overview

Kuwait has become a significant player in the Middle East, drawing businesses with its investor-friendly policies and substantial growth prospects. The country offers a stable political environment, a government supportive of business, competitive corporate taxes, and easy access to financing. Additionally, Kuwait's strategic location enhances its appeal for regional and international trade.

Kuwait has also invested heavily in modern infrastructure, facilitating efficient business operations. The true asset of Kuwait, however, is its people. The nation boasts a highly skilled and diverse workforce, with cities like Kuwait City attracting talent from around the world. This multicultural environment promotes innovation and allows businesses to tap into a global pool of qualified professionals.

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Facts & Stats

Population

4.35M

Caspital City

Kuwait City

Languages Spoken

Arabic

Currency

Kuwaiti Dinar

GDP Per Capita

$31720

Ease of Doing Business

Minimun Wage

None

Average Wage

1000-3000 KWD

Paid Leave

30 days of paid leave per year after completing one year of service

Labor Laws in Kuwait

Fundamental Aspects of Hiring in Kuwait

Kuwaitization 

Kuwait's approach to nationalizing its workforce, known as Kuwaitization, primarily focuses on incentives and training, in contrast to Qatar's strategy, which often involves mandatory quotas. Unlike Qatar, which has proposed draft laws specific to nationalization, Kuwait does not have a single law dictating Kuwaitization. 

Overall, Kuwaitization is an ongoing effort to enhance the participation of Kuwaiti citizens in the workforce. It aims to create a more balanced labor market and empower Kuwaiti citizens, while addressing challenges such as skills development and cultural preferences.

The government is now asking the private sector for their views on the challenges they face, rather than deciding on higher amounts on their own. This shows the government's genuine interest in listening and adjusting their strategies based on these insights.

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Working Hours in Kuwait

The working week in Kuwait varies between 40 and 48 hours, depending on the company’s policy. The work week typically runs from Sunday to Thursday with Friday and Saturday as rest days.

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Minimum Wage Requirements

Kuwait does not have a national minimum wage mandated by law. Wages are typically determined through:

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements: These agreements are negotiated between employee unions and employers in specific sectors. They might establish minimum wage levels for those sectors.
  • Industry Standards: Unwritten norms within specific industries can influence wage expectations.‚Äć
  • Individual Employment Contracts: These contracts between the employer and employee ultimately determine the salary offered.

Individual Income Tax

There is no personal income tax in Kuwait.

Overtime Pay & Maximum Hours

Overtime regulations are outlined in Articles 66, 67, and 68 of the Kuwait Labor Law:‚Äć

Maximum Overtime: Employees cannot work more than 2 additional hours per day, limited to 3 days per week, and a maximum of 90 days per year.

Overtime Pay Rate: Overtime work is compensated at a rate of:some text

  • 125% of the base salary for regular weekdays.
  • 150% of the base salary for weekends (with an additional paid day off potentially offered).

100% extra (on top of the base salary) for working on national holidays.

Navigating Employment Taxes in Kuwait

Here's a breakdown of the tax landscape in Kuwait:

Employer Tax Contributions

8.5% - 11%

In Kuwait, the typical estimation for employee payroll contributions cost is around 8.5% - 11%.

Employer Tax

12%

In Kuwait, employers typically do not have any additional payroll contributions on top of the employee's salary.

Individual Tax

0%

Kuwait does not levy personal income tax.

Pension in Kuwait

Pension Kuwait has a social security system that offers pensions to its citizens, covering retirees and their dependents. In addition to this government-provided benefit, Kuwaiti nationals can also opt for private pension plans available through various institutions.

Understanding Employment Termination in Kuwait

Termination of employment in Kuwait requires a clear understanding of local labor laws and regulations. Here’s what you need to know about ending an employment contract in Kuwait

Termination Process

In Kuwait, terminating an employee's contract requires a valid reason and must follow a fair procedure. Employees can be dismissed for reasons such as:

  • Misconduct
  • Inability to fulfill job responsibilities
  • Operational needs
  • Health-related issues

Notice Period 

In Kuwait, both employers and employees are required to provide a notice period of three months.

Probation Period

In Kuwait, the probation period for employees in the private sector is maximum 100 days, according to Kuwait's Labor Law. Here's a breakdown:

  • Maximum Duration: The legal limit for a probationary period in a private sector employment contract is 100 working days. This translates to roughly five months, assuming a typical workweek of five days.
  • Flexibility: Both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the contract without notice during the probation period. This allows both parties to assess suitability before a long-term commitment.
  • Exceptions: Government jobs might have different probationary periods outlined in their specific regulations.
  • After Probation: Once the probation period ends, the employment contract becomes permanent, and termination would require following specific legal procedures outlined in the Labor Law.

Severance Pay

In Kuwait, severance pay depends on the duration of the employee's service. For monthly paid employees, it amounts to 15 days' salary for each year of service during the first five years. After five years, the severance pay increases to one month's salary per year of service, with a maximum cap of 1.5 times the annual salary.

Leaves and Company Policies in Kuwait

Here's an overview of the various types of leaves and their corresponding regulations:

Annual Leave

In Kuwait, employees are entitled to 30 working days of paid annual leave after one continuous year of service. Unused annual leave can be accumulated, but it cannot exceed two years. During the first year of service, employees are eligible for pro-rata leave based on the duration of their employment.

Public Holidays

Employees in Kuwait are given paid time off on eight official public holidays, which are separate from annual leave entitlements.

Maternity Leave

Female employees are entitled to 70 calendar days of paid maternity leave, which includes 30 days prior to the expected due date and 40 days following childbirth.

Paternity Leave

There is no statutory paternity leave. 

Sick Leave

In Kuwait, employees are entitled to paid sick leave according to the following schedule:

  • First 15 days: Full pay
  • Next 10 days: 75% of pay
  • Following 10 days: 50% of pay
  • Subsequent 10 days: 25% of pay
  • Final 30 days: Unpaid

A valid medical certificate is necessary to claim sick leave.

Religious Leave

Muslim employees can take a one-time paid leave of 21 days to perform Hajj, after completing two years of continuous service.

Compassionate Leave

Family Bereavement: Employees might be granted up to 3 days of paid leave for the death of an immediate family member. While technically at the employer's discretion, it's commonly offered.

Personal Leave

Marriage: Employees may receive up to 3 days of paid leave to get married. This is also subject to employer approval.

Study Leave: Employees might be eligible for leave to take exams or pursue further education, pending their employer's approval.

Paid Time Off

Employees in Kuwait are entitled to 30 days of paid leave per year after completing one year of service. 

Frequently asked questions

1. What makes Iris unique for hiring in Kuwait?

Iris offers an advanced AI talent intelligence platform with features like an AI job description generator, AI video interviews, and an advanced applicant tracking system (ATS). Additionally, Iris supports personalized outreach and payroll management, making it a comprehensive solution for hiring skilled professionals in Kuwait.

2. What are the key labor laws employers should know in Kuwait?

Employers in Kuwait must adhere to several critical labor laws to ensure compliance and fair treatment of employees. Employment contracts are required to be in writing and should detail essential terms such as job description, salary, working hours, and the duration of employment. The standard workweek in Kuwait is 48 hours, with a maximum of 8 hours per day, although during Ramadan, working hours are reduced to 36 hours per week. Notably, Kuwait does not have a national minimum wage mandated by law. However, employees are entitled to an end-of-service gratuity, which is calculated based on their final basic wage and length of service. Employers are also obligated to provide a safe working environment in accordance with occupational health and safety regulations. Discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or nationality is strictly prohibited under Kuwaiti labor laws.

3. How does termination of employment work in Kuwait?

Termination of employment in Kuwait follows specific procedures designed to protect both employers and employees. Generally, both parties are required to provide a notice period before terminating the employment contract, the duration of which may vary depending on the terms specified in the employment agreement and the length of service. Valid reasons for termination include misconduct, incapacity to perform job duties, operational requirements, or health-related issues. Employees may be entitled to severance pay based on their length of service, typically ranging from 15 days to one month's salary per year of service, depending on the duration of their employment and the specific circumstances of termination.

4. What are the leave policies and entitlements in Kuwait?

Employees in Kuwait are entitled to various leave policies and entitlements that ensure their well-being and work-life balance. Annual leave is granted at a rate of 30 calendar days per year after completing one continuous year of service. Employees can accumulate unused annual leave up to a maximum of two years. Sick leave is provided on a paid basis, starting with full pay for the initial 15 days of illness, followed by reduced pay for subsequent days as per a defined schedule. Female employees are entitled to 70 calendar days of paid maternity leave, which includes 30 days before the expected due date and 40 days after childbirth. Additionally, employees enjoy paid leave on public holidays, including Islamic holidays and national celebrations, as per Kuwaiti labor laws. These leave policies are designed to protect the health and welfare of employees while promoting productivity and a healthy work environment in Kuwait.

5. How can I get started with Iris for hiring in Kuwait?

To start with Iris for hiring in Kuwait, you can book a demo or sign up directly through the platform. Iris offers a range of benefits to help you streamline the hiring process. From job description generation to payroll management, Iris makes building a team of skilled professionals in Kuwait easier.

Date Day Holiday Name
January 1 Monday New Year's Day
February 8 Thursday Isra'a Wal Miraj
February 25 Sunday National Day
February 26 Monday Liberation Day
April 4 Thursday Public Holiday
April 9