HomeChannelsBusinessSpotlight on Oman/Bahrain/Kuwait: Employee Rights Compared

Spotlight on Oman/Bahrain/Kuwait: Employee Rights Compared

Over the years the Arab states of the Persian Gulf have proven to be countries filled with opportunities. With thriving economies from their oil and gas production, Bahrain, Oman, and Kuwait have all become countries that provide significant opportunities for employees, whether they are locals or ex-pats.

But how do these countries compare when it comes to employee rights?

The following will highlight employment rights and benefits to provide an overview of what employees and employers should expect when working or employing in these Gulf States.

Kuwait

Minimum Wage 

Kuwait’s minimum wage is set at 75 Kuwaiti Dinars (245.61 USD) per month for employees in the private and oil sectors, making it the lowest of minimum wages. Although the minimum wage is only 75 KWD, the minimum average monthly salary is about 320 KWD (1,046 USD).

Working hours & Overtime

In Kuwait, employees can work a maximum of 48 regular hours over 6 days, however, most companies work 5 days per week. For those who do work 6 days a week, Friday is their rest day. And just like the other countries in the region, Kuwait reduces its work hours during the period of Ramadan. During the 30 days of Ramadan, work hours are reduced to 6-hour days and 30-hour weeks.

Overtime regulations in Kuwait are quite strict, limiting overtime hours to 2 a day and no more than 3 times a week or 90 days a year. The amount of overtime pay is determined by if the hours were worked on a regular working day, a weekend, or a holiday. Now it is set at 125% the usual hourly wage for regular overtime hours, 150% the usual hourly wage for weekend overtime, and 200% the usual hourly wage for holidays.

Vacation, Sickness, and Maternity Leave

Employees in Kuwait also receive 30 days of annual vacation leave but can begin taking days off after only 6 months of employment. Employees also receive paid 21 days of paid leave to perform Al-Hajj if they have never done it before. This leave can be taken as soon as two weeks of the start of employment.

Like Bahrain, Kuwait also benefits from 15 days of fully paid sick leave, and after payment reduces based on the number of days absent from illness. The 10 days following the initial 15 days are reduced to 75% pay, 50% pay for the following 10 days, 25% pay for the following 10 days, and then the following 30 days can be taken without payment.

Maternity leave in Kuwait is 70 days of fully paid leave (5 days fewer than Bahrain), but employees can take up to 4 months of additional leave of unpaid leave.

Termination

Termination in Kuwait requires just cause, notice, and severance unless the employee is terminated for reasons involving fraud or causing monetary loss to the company.

The notice period is one month for employees on hourly or weekly wages, while 3 months’ notice should be given to employees on a monthly salary. Severance is determined by the length the employee has been continuously employed; 15 days for each year up to the fifth year, and a month of severance for each year after. The maximum amount of severance is one year of salary. Further details on termination can be found in this guide to Kuwait’s payroll laws.

 

Oman

Minimum Wage 

Oman’s minimum wage is based on academic qualification and is currently set at 225 Rials (585.15 USD) per month where bonuses are no less than 100 Rials and an annual increase is at least 3%. General Education Diploma minimum wage is less than 325 riyals; Past a general diploma is 450 riyals; A bachelor’s degree and above is 600 riyals.

Not only does Oman have the highest minimum wage, but also has the lowest cost of living amongst these three nations.

Working hours & Overtime

Working hours in Oman are slightly longer than those in Bahrain and Kuwait, lasting 9 hours a day and 45 hours a week. However, it reduces its working hours to 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week for the 30 days of Ramadan.

Daily work hours are limited to 12 hours, and employees receive 125% of their normal hourly wage for each overtime hour. If employees work nighttime overtime hours than the pay rate increases to 150% of their normal hourly rate.

Vacation, Sickness, and Maternity Leave

Employees in Oman, just like Bahrain and Kuwait, accrue 2.5 vacation days a month and receive 30 days of vacation annually. However, employees in Oman can begin their vacation after 6 months of employment whereas employees in Bahrain must wait a year, and employees in Kuwait must wait 9 months. Overall Oman’s paid time off compares favourably with other countries around the world.

Oman which receives 10 fully paid days of sick leave is the fewest amongst the three countries, but it continues to allow sick leave at a reduced rate. From the third to the fourth-week employees receive 75% of their regular wage, 50% for weeks five and 6, and 25% for weeks seven through ten.

Just like sick leave, Oman also benefits from the fewest amount of days for paid maternity leave. This is set at 50 days and is restricted to three times per employee while working under the same employer.

Termination

The termination procedure in Oman is like Bahrain and Kuwait where the justification for termination is required alongside severance payment and a written notice (30 days required by both employee and employer). End of service gratuity is set at 15 days to pay for each year of service and 30 days of pay for each year after the third year of service.

 

Bahrain

Minimum Wage 

Bahrain does not have a mandatory minimum wage. Although no law is in place that enforces minimum payment, it is common practice to pay a minimum monthly salary to employees based on their education level. Employees with high school diplomas should receive a minimum of 270 Bahraini Dinars (716 USD), 350 (928 USD) Bahraini Dinars for holders of an advanced diploma, and 400 Bahraini Dinars (1,061 USD) for those with bachelor’s degrees. More info on Bahrain’s payroll can be found here.

Working Hours & Overtime

Working hours in Bahrain are the standard 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. However, because Bahrain is a Muslim country, working hours are altered during Ramadan to accommodate employees. During this period working hours are reduced to 6-hour days and 36-hour weeks.

Bahrain also has mandatory overtime payment for regular overtime hours and holiday overtime hours. For regular overtime, employees receive 125% of their usual hourly wage, and employees who work holidays receive 150% their usual hourly wage. As a rule, employees should not be in the office for more than 11 hours per day.

Vacation, Sickness, and Maternity Leave

Employees in Bahrain benefit from the right to earn paid leave for vacation, sickness, and maternity.

After the first year of service, the employee has gained their right to take vacation leave. Each month they will earn 2.5 days of vacation accruing to 30 days of annual leave. 30 days is currently the minimum amount of annual vacation days employees should receive and employers may grant even more days.

Alongside generous vacation leave, Bahrain also has generous sickness and maternity leave. Employees receive 35 days of paid sick leave and 20 days of unpaid leave; The first 15 days are fully paid, the following 20 days are 50% pay, and the next 20 days are unpaid.

Like sick leave, maternity leave is partly paid and has a small fraction that is unpaid. The first 75 days are fully paid, and the following 15 days are unpaid.

Termination

To terminate an employee in Bahrain he employer must have sufficient reasons, provide a notice of termination, and pay severance. The current notice period is 30 days, however, if notice isn’t given, payment in lieu of notice must be paid. If it is the employee who is resigning, they too need to provide notice. See here for a complete breakdown of Bahrain’s payroll laws


Also published on Medium.

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