Kuwait City Image Credit: File

Manama: A Kuwaiti public sector employee has regularly received his salary for more than 10 years even though he did not report to work until the authorities discovered his case.

He was one of the more than 900 employees whose salaries were suspended by the government as part of a campaign to combat absenteeism and failure of compliance with rules and regulations.

The employee is now upset that they are suspending his salary, Kuwaiti daily Al Rai reported on Thursday.

In another case, an employee spent 18 months abroad without presenting any form of excuses or notification about his absence.

When asked to explain his absence, he said that his boss did not ask about him throughout the year and a half he did not show up at work.

According to a source, several employees whose salaries were frozen over their blatant absenteeism or irregular attendance have sought to have the decisions reversed, but the government is showing great resolve to combat the phenomenon plaguing public departments.

“There are several employees who do not have any commitment towards regular attendance or presenting excuses for their prolonged absences,” the source said.

In July last year, around 30,000 public employees applied for sick leaves for the three days following the official Eid holidays.

“The employees from various ministries and government establishments and institutions have secured the sick leave from public and private hospitals, allowing them not to report to work on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” a source at the Civil Service Commission (CSC) said.

The sick leaves extend the Eid holidays that started on Friday by five days, including the two-day weekend.

However, the CSC launched an investigation into all the sick leave cases to check whether they were genuine.

An official report issued in 2011 sounded the alarm after it warned that absenteeism in Kuwait's public sector reached shocking levels with only half of all employees showing up at work.

Kuwait's Annual Leave Report, covering the period between January and March 2011, reveals half of the state's employees were absent from work under various excuses, costing the country's treasury more than KD10.5 million (Dh139.2 million).

The report, released by the Information System Centre, said statistics showed that 46 per cent of the total number of employees who did not show up for work cited illness as the cause. The 532,132 sick leave days taken by the employees were worth KD10,642,640.

Schools are also deeply impacted by the level of absenteeism among students, prompting the authorities to consider using their class attendance to determine their grades.

Under the decision, students who do not present valid excuses for missing classes will be punished by having their lack of attendance counted against their grades.

The decision followed reports that indicated that students tended not to show up for classes just before or after holidays and prolong their days off.