Bahrain law on annual leave may be challenged
Manama, March 17, 2013
Bahrain's new Labour law governing annual leave for employees is allegedly costing companies millions of dinars and businessmen claim leave costs have doubled since the new regulations came into force last September, a report said.
Some of the country's biggest firms have been advised not to implement the changes and are now planning to challenge the law in court, said the report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
"The main point of contention is the number of days of annual leave and there is an argument on whether it should be 30 calendar days or 30 working days," said law firm Almoayed Chambers chairman Aymen Almoayed.
"We have been approached by several leading companies whose salarys bill runs into millions and they have to pay millions extra if they implement the new law.
"We are advising our clients to ignore the ministry's circular on annual leave days because it is unlawful and are urging them to calculate the annual leave days as calendar days instead of working days."
Almoayed said the previous Labour law entitled people to 21 days of annual leave, but recent changes had pushed that up to 42 days, of which 30 are working days.
"As per the Labour Ministry's circular, 30 annual leave days provided under Article 58 of the Law should be counted as working days instead of calendar days," he said.
Almoayed said annual leave costs for companies under the previous labour law was around 5.8 per cent of an employee's gross annual salary, but that had increased to 11.7pc under the new rules.
He stated there were also issues with maternity leave, sick leave, indemnity payments, compensation for termination of a definite employment contract and the right to strike.
"These are also being looked into and will be taken up in court," he said.
Almoayed said it was strange that parliament minutes during discussions on the new law clearly stated the 30 days of leave should be calculated as calendar days and not working days.
"In spite of this, the Labour Ministry directive dated September 18, 2012 states the number of days should be calculated as 30 working days, which means every holiday, including weekends, will not be counted," he said.
"This will mean a huge extra burden on employers, particularly those who employ hundreds or thousands of people." - TradeArabia News Service