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Labor panel scraps 35-day annual leave, reverts to 30 days

 

 

The National Assembly’s health and labor committee yesterday succumbed to pressure by the government and the business community and decided to rescind its earlier approval of increasing the annual leave for private sector employees to 35 days. Head of the committee MP Hamoud Al-Khudhair said yesterday the panel decided to reduce the annual leave back to 30 days as it was before the amendment.

The amendment had been approved by the committee about two months ago and then passed by the National Assembly in the first reading last month. The Assembly was due to pass the amendment in the second and final reading more than three weeks ago, but the government delayed the vote. The government clearly told the panel that the amendment harms the interests of Kuwaiti businessmen against a minor benefit to a small number of Kuwaitis employed in the private sector.

The overwhelming majority of employees in the private sector are foreigners, who would have been the main beneficiaries of the amendment. The Kuwait chamber of commerce and industry, which represents the business community, and the banking association also stepped up pressure to block the amendment. Khudhair told reporters that the annual leave will now remain at 30 days but without including rest days – which means Fridays and public holidays. The lawmaker however said the only amendment that will be debated on Tuesday is granting Kuwaitis in the private sector full end of service indemnity, besides getting pension after retirement.-K.T.

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