KUWAIT: In line with government and National Assembly directives to approve a financial increase for Kuwaiti employees, termed the “living improvement allowance”, sources anticipate a salary hike ranging between KD 80-100. Recent pension increases for retirees with pensions below KD 1,000 have set the new minimum at KD 1,000. However, sources indicate that these anticipated salary increases will be exclusive to Kuwaiti employees and will not extend to expatriates in either the government or private sectors.
The distinction arises from the fact that expatriate employees in the private sector are under the purview of private entities, and the government lacks the authority to mandate salary increases for them. The forthcoming law is expected to enhance the quality of life for citizens and will likely focus solely on their financial well-being.
The living improvement allowance, a longstanding financial benefit subject to periodic adjustments based on living conditions, rising prices and inflation, is anticipated to be funded through various budgetary allocations. These may include the imposition of taxes on items deemed harmful, such as cigarettes, soft drinks, energy drinks and luxury goods. The sources emphasize that the budget for this allowance is unlikely to cover expatriates in the government sector.
Regarding expatriate workers, the sources suggest that the Public Authority of Manpower may revisit conditions related to work permits, particularly in determining the value of monthly salary increases. The authority could approve wage increases based on work permits, as demonstrated by a previous circular that eliminated the monthly salary increase cap, allowing employers to decide in alignment with their perspective.
Additionally, the authority has the flexibility to engage in discussions with private entities about the conditions of expatriate workers, potentially agreeing to adjust minimum salaries in response to changing circumstances and developments. This approach allows for a more nuanced and adaptable approach to addressing the financial concerns of expatriate workers in the private sector.