Manama: Around 40,000 public sector employees in Kuwait took sick leaves for the three days following the official national holidays on Sunday and Monday.
“The employees from various ministries and government establishments and institutions have secured the sick leaves in order not to report to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” a source at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said, Kuwaiti daily Al Nahar reported on Wednesday.
The sick leaves extend Kuwait’s holidays to mark the celebrations of its 57th National Day, 27th Liberation Day and the 12th anniversary of the assumption of power by the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad to nine days, including two-week-ends, from February 23 to March 3.
However, the source added that CSC officials were now looking into the sick leaves to assess whether they were genuine.
Investigations would be launched in case of non-compliance with the regulations and laws, the source said.
Such probes usually include checking the patients’ health records and the names of the doctors who signed the leaves.
Health ministry officials said that they were coordinating with the CSC to tackle the phenomenon of sick leaves that precede or follow national holidays.
The officials reportedly told the daily that they stood vehemently against any kind of nonchalance or complicity that allowed non-deserving employees to claim they were sick and extend their days off.
The ministry reported five per cent absenteeism in its own departments.
Kuwaiti authorities have been struggling with absenteeism in the public sector after it reached alarming levels as thousands of Kuwaitis have acquired the habit of reporting sick during the two or three days preceding or following Eid or official holidays in order to augment their days off and travel abroad.