New rules for working women

KUWAIT: The manpower authority issued administrative decision no. 552 to organize women’s work at night, which limits allowed activities to hotels, pharmacies, medical labs, healthcare providers, law firms, amusement parks, nurseries, disabled care houses, aviation firms, theaters, TV and radio satellite channels and stations, commercial stores at port and airports, the oil sector, petrochemical industries and companies with contracts with government bodies to provide 24/7 services.

The decision also defined the activities in which women will be allowed to work until midnight, except during Ramadan, including banks, restaurants, NGOs, amusement parks, law firms, co-ops, educational facilities, women’s salons, travel agencies and shopping malls.

The decision bans women from working in 15 activities including painting, asbestos manufacturing, chlorine and soda manufacturing, asphalt manufacturing, factories and mines, slaughterhouses, pesticide manufacturing and sale, metal fusion and casting, explosives, operating or maintaining machines, battery manufacture or repair, fertilizer manufacture or storage, brick manufacturing, heavy-duty jobs such as construction and firefighting, oil drilling and all jobs involving the use of lead, benzol, arsenic or phosphorus.

In addition to banning men from working in facilities providing special services for women, the decision entitles working women to two hours to breastfeed their babies, provided they file an application to their superiors accompanied with the baby’s birth certificate. It also entitles a Muslim working widow to a fully-paid leave of four months and 10 days effective from the date of her husband’s death.

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