Thursday, April 2, 2015
ABC of Kuwait- Beware!
We were hired as a group of nine to be split among their two locations, eight women and one man. The working hours were 9-6 pm with an hour lunch. We were given a week of training in one of their rooms of the Abu Hassani location. The 'training' consisted of power point presentations, verbal lectures, some interactive group play and physical training using their 'CALM' techniques when children become violent.
We were promised the power point presentations would be sent to our emails which never happened and we weren't given any certificate of completion or any paperwork saying we were certified in any of the training we received. I was surprised we weren't give anything as per the contract we signed we would have to pay back 170 KD for their 'training' if we resigned or were let go before the 100 days and we are barred from using this training for a year after we have left the company. I will get more into that at the end.
According to the paperwork we were given we would have a month to observe and learn the art of teaching these lovely kids. Instead, they started auditing us the second week. The first week one of the ladies from the group was let go. The second week two more women were let go and after being congratulated on passing the audit another one was let go the following work day with no warning. There were a couple new trainees hired the same week (revolving door). Sometimes we had to work into the lunch hour completing the forms and barely having time to eat. One team had their meetings during the lunch hour and their people had to each lunch during the meeting. Parents are supposed to pick up children 10 minutes prior to end of session but if they didn't the employees would have to stay after 6 pm to complete paperwork.
Some of the staff were young single females and most didn't have children so there was no problem staying late but for those who still have to get home and take care of their own family the unpaid overtime was difficult.
Today the ex employee went to pick up their salary, meeting with the admin manager. The ex employee was shown a paper with the amount to be received. There was a 100 KD deduction for 'training' which the ex employee questioned. They were told it was written in the contract and this is why it's being deducted. When the person asked where is their certification of training or proof of completing the course they were told they could print one offline even though they were no longer allowed on the training website. They told the manager they would speak to their lawyer and stepped out to make the call.
Upon asking the manager for a copy of the salary and deductions they were asked to leave the office or security would escort them out. We are always reading how expats are treated bad by their Kuwaiti bosses, this time it's the American being bullied by an Irish guy. The two ladies let go weren't even offered any salary for their 15 days of work because the company insists on deducting 'training' money. One of the ladies had asked the same question about getting a certificate of training and was told by the Irish guy and another supervisor that they would 'look into it'.
The training was accurate and the kids were great to work with but the stress of being watched by cameras in every room and trying to fit in with the 'click' was just too much to handle. They don't take time to train and work with the new staff, if they don' fit in immediately they are already on the chopping block. Even if you love what you're doing and want to make a difference in a child's life there are too many social issues going on in that place. In the end the staff is terminated and there's no way of adding new clients who are currently on a waiting list. The Abu Hassani location is totally Kuwait's own 'Mean Girls' club.