Public Holidays, Weekends, and Leave Types in Kuwait
19 Oct 2023
Kuwait, known for its rich heritage and booming oil industry, is also a nation that respects the rights of its workers. Whether you’re a resident, expatriate, or someone considering a move to Kuwait, it’s essential to understand the various public holidays and leave types in the country. Let’s delve into this topic to provide a concise yet comprehensive overview.
Public Holidays in Kuwait
Kuwait celebrates various public holidays, rooted in its Islamic culture and national events. Here’s a breakdown:
- New Year's Day (January 1): The start of the Gregorian calendar year.
- National Day (February 25): A day of patriotism, celebrating the establishment of modern Kuwait.
- Liberation Day (February 26): Commemorates the liberation from Iraqi invasion in 1991.
- Isra and Mi'raj (Rajab 27): This Islamic holiday celebrates the Prophet Muhammad's nighttime journey. Its date varies based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
- Eid al-Fitr: Celebrated at the end of Ramadan, this 2-day festival’s date changes yearly as it's based on the lunar calendar.
- Eid al-Adha: Lasting for 2 days, this holiday marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage.
- Islamic New Year (Muharram 1): Marks the beginning of the Islamic lunar calendar year.
- Prophet Muhammad's Birthday (Rabi Al-Awwal 12): Celebrating the birth of Prophet Muhammad.
Please note that the exact dates for Islamic holidays may vary yearly as they're determined by the lunar calendar. Furthermore, public and private sectors in Kuwait might observe slightly different holiday durations, especially during Eid celebrations.
Weekends in Kuwait
Kuwait follows a Friday-Saturday weekend.
- Friday: It's a day of religious significance for Muslims. Many Kuwaitis attend the Friday prayers at mosques and spend the day with family.
- Saturday: Considered a day of rest, akin to Sunday in many Western countries.
Leave Types in Kuwait
Kuwait’s labor laws are quite progressive when it comes to leaves, ensuring that employees have ample time to rest, rejuvenate, and attend to personal matters.
Every employee in Kuwait has the right to an annual paid leave after completing a service
of one year with their employer.
- Duration: Usually, this is 30 days per annum. If the leave includes official holidays or weekends, they are not counted as part of the annual leave.
- Accumulation: It's noteworthy that unutilized annual leaves can be accumulated, but specific rules might apply based on the employment contract.
Kuwait has a compassionate approach to employees facing health issues.
- First 6 days: Full pay.
- Next 6 days: 3/4 of the wage.
- Following 6 days: Half pay.
- Next 6 days: 1/4 of the wage.
- After 24 days: No pay.
Remember, to avail sick leave, a medical certificate from a competent doctor is required.
Kuwaiti laws are supportive of expectant and new mothers.
- Duration: 70 days with full pay post-delivery.
- Additional Leave: After maternity leave, a new mother can take up to four months of unpaid leave.
- Hajj Leave: For Muslim employees who have not performed Hajj after working for an employer for two continuous years, a special leave of up to 21 days can be granted.
- Emergency Leave: While not a statutory provision, many companies offer emergency leave at their discretion. Such leaves are typically granted for sudden, unforeseen events.
- Mourning Leave: In the unfortunate event of a death in the immediate family, employees can get a 3-day bereavement leave.
- Study Leave: The law also recognizes the importance of education, allowing employees to pursue higher studies by granting them study leave. The conditions and length vary by agreement and the nature of the study.
- Annual Leave: Every employee in Kuwait has the right to an annual paid leave after completing a service of one year with their employer.
Understanding Kuwait’s public holidays and leave types is pivotal for effective planning, whether you’re an employer scheduling work or an employee planning a vacation. With a mix of religious, national, and public holidays combined with a generous leave system, Kuwait ensures a balanced life for its workforce. Always remember to check the exact dates for Islamic holidays and familiarize yourself with your company's leave policies to make the most out of your time in this beautiful country.
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