Kuwait City
An aerial view Kuwait City. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Kuwait has set new terms for civil servants to get a cash allowance in return for their unused holidays.

According to the government Civil Service Commission, the new regulations restrict the swap to Kuwaiti state employees only and for one time every 10 years.

The new rules, moreover, stipulate that the eligible employee’s last three performance evaluation reports should be very good and that the employee has worked at the same government agency for at least three years prior to the date of issuing the decree entitling him/her to the cash-for-holiday swap.

In the same vein, the eligible employee should not have been subjected to a disciplinary penalty.

The new regulations have stirred instant controversy.

“The latest amendments have made fulfilling the employee’s right to sell his holiday balance next to impossible,” Kuwaiti MP Khalid Al Muns.

“We back limiting benefitting from this law to citizens only,” the lawmaker added in media remarks. “But at the same time, this doesn’t mean accepting the rest of conditions,” he said.

Allowing government employees to exchange their accrued holidays for money has long been an issue of public debate in Kuwait.

In April last year, the Kuwaiti government issued a decree permitting civil servants to be paid in return for their unused holidays.

In June of that year, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Anba reported that the scheme will apply to all government employees including expatriates.

Eligible employees had to meet certain conditions. They included that the civil servant should have been in the service for at least five years and that the holiday balance should not be less than 30 days until the end of the Gregorian year, according to the report.

Foreigners make up nearly 3.4 million of Kuwait’s overall population of 4.6 million.