Minister of Social Affairs Mariam Al-Aqeel revealed yesterday during a Kuwait TV broadcast that her department is currently thinking over how to deal with private sector employers who have not paid their staff. She stated that she will issue a decision soon on how to handle this wrong situation, as employees would find it difficult to meet their financial commitments if they don’t get paid. Thousands of expatriate workers work in the private sector, and are often forced to work shorter hours or at home due to the curfew in place as a consequence of the coronavirus threat.
The ministry can compel employers to pay wages of their workers and can use the guarantee money deposited with the ministry to pay unpaid wages. Aqeel said cooperative societies were performing well during the current crisis and warned violators will be penalized.
Businesses in Kuwait have come to a virtual standstill with government offices closed for a month and all malls shut, including entertainment places, travel offices, airlines, private offices and only limited banking facilities available. With the introduction of the curfew since last week from 5 pm to 4 am local businesses have been badly affected as well.
Restaurants and supermarkets are the only businesses open during that time but are also badly impacted with no dine in facilities available. The government has taken a slew of measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus and has been applauded by World Health Organization for their farsighted and quick response to the pandemic.
Government sector employees have been paid their salary ahead of time and Kuwaiti citizens have been informed that they can postpone their loans without interest also their personal credit card for 6 months. Company loans have also been deferred for 6 months without payment of interest for the delay.
The impact on small businesses will be enormous as may not able to make ends meets and pay wages to employees sitting at home with no work or business.
H.H. the Amir last week asked the government to come up with an economic stimulus package that will help people overcome the harsh impact on the economy by the coronavirus shutdown.
Source - Times Kuwait