At Work in Kuwait City

Work Usage in Kuwait City

Home > Expat Guides > Middle East > Kuwait > Kuwait City

Working Hours

Working hours vary greatly, depending on the company or business one is employed with. Generally, working hours are thoroughly discussed in an employee's labor contract.

Normal working hours are Sunday – Thursday, 8:30/9:00 am to 5:30/6:00 pm. A normal work week is between 40 and 48 hours, usually five or six days per week. Friday and Saturday are consider the weekend.

Despite official standards, expectations may be different in practice.


During the Holy month of Ramadan, government working hours vary and aren't announced until a few days before Ramadan begins. Most business and well known companies adjust their working hours during this time of the year as well.

During Ramadan, all cafes, restaurants or an establishment serving food or drink are closed from sunrise to sunset. Most grocery stores do remain open for business, as are other shops and businesses, including large malls. IT IS ILLEGAL TO EAT AND DRINK IN PUBLIC DURING RAMADAN. ANYONE CAUGHT DOING SO, REGARDLESS OF ONE'S RELIGION, MAY BE ARRESTED AND PROSECUTED.  It is not uncommon for many expats to leave Kuwait during Ramadan.

Read Respecting Ramadan as an Expat or Traveler to better understand what to expect.


Kuwait's Parliament is considering a bill that would mandate a minimum wage for Kuwaiti citizens of 1,500 KD ($5,300) per month. If approved, Kuwait's would be among the best paid workers in the world, far exceeding salaries paid to workers in the European country of Luxembourg.

Depending on a person's qualifications, years of experience, schooling and other mitigating factors and what's written in an employee's contract, ones wages can vary greatly from company to company.


According to the current Labor Law, the following ideals and principles apply to employment contracts in Kuwait.

  • The employee shall be employed by virtue of a contract.
  • A contract can we written or verbal
  • Contracts must clearly sate the start date, wage, length of employment, and type of work to be performed.
  • Probationary periods shall be outlined in contract and cannot exceed 100 days.
  • The employer has the right to terminate the contract, without advanced notice or justification, within the probationary period.
  • Contract can be either a fixed period or indefinite. Fixed term contracts cannot exceed five years.
  • Contract must be in Arabic, but may be translated into other languages. In the event of a dispute between employer and employee, the Arabic version shall be the legally binding version.


Employment contracts may be terminated by either party, with or without notice. The general rule is to give written notice as far in advance as possible. Cancelling employment contracts before they expire by either employer or employee can result in one party having to compensate the other for lost wages due to breach of contract.

In certain circumstances, an employer may terminate an employee's contract if:

  • If the worker commits a fault resulting in a substantial loss for the company or business.
  • If the worker fails to comply with company rules and regulations, after being given repeated warnings.
  • If the employee is absent from work for more than seven days without a reasonable explanation.
  • If the employee gets into trouble with the police or courts.
  • If the worker commits an assault upon another co-worker or company employee.
  • If the worker breaches any of the agreements of his contract.
  • If the employee divulges any company secrets.

If the labor contract is indefinite, termination is possible by either party so long as the following are adhered to:

  • Employees paid a monthly salary must give fifteen days notice.
  • For all others, a minimum of seven days notice must be given.

An employee may terminate his contract with his employer, with or without notice if:

  • If the employer fails to abide by the contract signed with the employee, or labor laws.
  • If the employee is assaulted by the employer or his representative.
  • If the employee's forced to work in unhealthy/dangerous conditions.

Time Off

If not otherwise stated in an employee's work contract, the following applies to time off:

  • Employees are entitled to at least one 24 hour period of rest without pay. If an employee must work on that day, they are entitled to one days wage plus 50%.
  • After one year of employment with a company or business, employee is entitled to 14 days vacation. After five years of employment, the employee is entitled to 21 days of vacation per year.
  • Employer has the right to determine when employee may take vacation.

Sick Leave

The following rules apply to sick leave (on a per year basis):

  • First six days with full pay
  • The next six days with ¾ pay.
  • The following six days with ½ pay.
  • The next six days with ¼ pay.
  • Any further sick leave without pay.


Most of these holidays are based on the Muslim Lunar Calendar, and in certain cases the actual date depends on the sighting of the New moon, which may vary slightly from one country to another. The Government of Kuwait will make an official announcement, through radio, newspapers and official websites, when each holiday actually occurs.

  • New Years Day (one day)  - New Years day normally falls on January 1st of every year
  • The Isra and Mi'raj Day (one day) - The ascent of the Prophet Muhammad. This holiday is celebrated on the 27th day of the month of Rajab.
  • Eid al-Fitr (two days) Marks the end of Ramadan - The Holy Month of Fasting. There is no set date.
  • Eid al-Adha (two days) Eid al-Adha - Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (also known as Abraham) to follow Allah's (God's) command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. During this celebration, Muslims will sacrifice an animal, usually a goat or sheep. This holiday is usually observed during the month of October.
  • Phrophet's Birthday (one day) - This holiday is celebrated during the month of January, on either the 12th or 17th day of the month.
  • Coronation Day (one day) - The day the king or ruler came to power. This holiday is usually celebrated in February.
  • National Day (one day) Kuwait's Independence Day, which is usually celebrated in conjunction with Liberation Day - National Day is celebrated on 25th of February.

Update 26/05/2013


Facebook Twitter Google+ LinkedIn Pinterest Addthis

Recommended Service Partners

International Movers

When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.

Our network of international removal companies can move your furniture & possessions to Kuwait and anywhere overseas.

Filling in the form at the bottom will allow you to request up to 5 quotes from various moving companies. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.

Do you have comments or personal information to communicate about this article? Add your comment.

Go to the Forum to talk more about work usage in Kuwait City, at work.

Find more definitions and general answers on expatriation issues in the Expat FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).