Empty offices and long wait times as state employees extend holiday.

A significant number of Govt ministries and agencies employees extended their Eid Al-Fitr holiday, resulting in a high percentage of absences in the first shift after the holiday. The Ministry Complex was particularly affected, with an estimated 55% absence rate. This is in line with the popular belief that Kuwait’s Eid is lengthy and renewed each year.

Many employees were absent without any legitimate excuse, with sick or periodic leave being the most common reasons given. This was evident in the unusually vacant car parks, empty offices, and unoccupied sidewalks, reports Al Qabas. While some ministries demonstrated high levels of employee commitment, such as the Ministry of Health, which reported an absence rate of no more than 2%, many others saw a marked increase in absenteeism.

Visitors who visited government departments and ministries after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday were surprised to find empty offices and long waiting times due to a shortage of staff. Despite laws governing the Service Bureau, some employees took on the work of their absent colleagues to compensate for the shortage.

Around 55% of state employees were absent on the first working day after Eid Al-Fitr, especially in the Ministries Complex, indicating that the belief of “Kuwait’s Eid is long” is still prevalent. Unusually, there was no crowding in the parking lots or on the streets, and most offices were empty due to employees taking sick or periodic leave.

However, some ministries like the Ministry of Health had better attendance with only 2% absence. Government departments and ministries opened after the holiday, but auditors were surprised by the empty offices of absent employees. The absence rate was around 45%, and some employees had to perform their absent colleagues’ work. The employees present had conversations about various topics like travel, legislative elections, and sports.

Cleaning workers played a significant role in guiding the visitors and completing their transactions manually. Some ministries confirmed that they would hold absent employees accountable if they did not have an acceptable legal excuse.

Source- Arab Times.

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