Kuwaitis claim 120,000 sick days during Ramadan

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Kuwaiti public sector employees claimed more than 120,000 sick days during the holy month of Ramadan and in the four days immediately after the recent Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which cost the state over $11m in lost productivity, official figures showed.

Statistics from the Civil Service Commission revealed 25,048 sick leave notes were issued to 12,372 employees between August 12 and 15, just after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, the Al-Watan daily newspaper reported. The loss in productivity cost the state KD500,960 ($1,761,464), the commission said.

At the same time, statistics showed 96,116 sick days were taken by 42,231 government employees during the holy month of Ramadan, resulting in a loss of productivity costing around KD2,633,460 ($9,259,711), the statistics showed.

Kuwait has been trying to clampdown on the number of sick days claimed by its more than 435,000 government employees. Despite a new database being put in place to monitor their issuance, and those claiming them, there have been allegations of employees taking sick days illegally or having them signed off by unscrupulously medical doctors, the Kuwait Times newspaper said.

The figures come as it was announced in July the Gulf state’s 2013/2014 budget would result in spending of KD21bn ($73.7bn) and a deficit of KD2.9bn ($10.2bn). Kuwait has a native population of 1.22 million in addition to 2.7 million foreigners.

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Posted by: Ian

It would also be of interest to know the sick days in any other typical month. Is this really a Ramadan issue (I suspect yes) or is it a general bad work ethic and abuse of sickness rules issue throughout the rest of the year too?

Even better would be a comparisons between public and private sectors and Nationals versus expats. Now that really would be an interesting story - are you up for doing it Arabian Business??

Posted by: mee

of-course what the report didn't mention is the productivity level of those that actually went to work during the month. i assure u that the level and loses would be much greater once u add that to those that didn't.

Posted by: Tarek

One way to clamp down on this is to make sick days count as part of annual leave. I can guarantee you we will see a sharp decline in the number of sick days taken.

Posted by: Doug

That's not particularly fair as it will punish those who genuinely get ill.

A far better solution would be for the employer to request a note confirming illness from a doctor should they suspect someone is abusing the system.

Then again, I suspect anyone working in the public sector in the Gulf will be able to just wave a bit of cash and wasta at their doctor anyway.

Posted by: Sebastian

I'm just wondering if the gcc governments will do a u-turn regarding cutting down the number of foreign workers, cause with local work ethic being so low the gcc countries can't really function by relying on it citizens to run it.

Posted by: Just sayin

Kudos to Kuwait for publishing this information.

Wonder if we will ever know, what it was in the other GCC countries?

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