KUWAIT: Despite a nine-day holiday which officially starts on Sunday, the last working day (Thursday) saw high absence rates in the public sector and schools with one ministry recording as low as 40 percent employees attendance while schools were almost empty. Civil Service Commission records showed that around 29,000 public sector employees were absent on Thursday. Meanwhile, a senior CSC source told Al-Jarida daily that the worst rates were seen in the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor, where it reached over 60 percent, as well as the Ministry of Education.
Sources within the Ministry of Communications revealed that absent levels reached 30 per- cent in administrative departments and over 50 percent in service sectors. The Civil Service Commission opened a coordination with the Interior Ministry to match names of the absentees with those who left the country on the same day, said the senior official who spoke to Al-Jarida on the condition of anonymity.
He further indicated that a similar coordination was opened with the Ministry of Health in order to control sick leaves. “A doctor with increased activity in signing sick leaves will be referred for questioning”, the source explained. He admitted that many employees believe that pay deductions alone “do not deter those wishing to extend their leaves”. Meanwhile, public and private schools saw absence rate skyrocketing as high as 80 percent on Thursday, while sources within the Administrative Affairs Department in the Ministry of Education revealed that “teachers began taking leaves starting from Wednesday”.
Taking a leave of absence before or after holidays; especially when working days fall between holidays and weekends has become a growing problem in Kuwait in recent years. In a bid to address the issue, the government has adopted measures that include creating a database that synchronizes between sick leaves’ records and travel records in land border checkpoints and the Kuwait International Airport. However, the process has so far failed to achieve the desired results; mainly due to the lack of procedures to identify sick leaves that are signed unlawfully and lack of repellant penalties.
My daughter started government schools and the teacher told my husband not to bring my daughter on Wednesday and Thursday as no one would be there and the private schools were empty of students as well.
Now that I'm working around Kuwaitis I have collected a huge pile of sick notes. I know it seems like all of Kuwait is sick especially at work, we ran out of tissue. It shouldn't be so easy to get a sick note especially when your start times is 3:56 pm and end time is 4:04 pm, I don't think you were there for treatment, just a note.
Maybe they should have money deducted and a sick limit put in place, once the limit is reached you are terminated. At least the Kuwaiti female in charge doesn't accept sick notes from the students unless they have a real problem.