Two Kuwaiti officers and four policemen have been remanded in custody for absenteeism. Making an unannounced visit at 6am to a police station in the capital Kuwait City, the interior ministry undersecretary Sulaiman Al Fahad was shocked to find the place empty, except for a single policemen.
The senior official checked the shift schedule and discovered that two officers and four policemen were not on duty at the station as expected, local daily Al Rai reported on Wednesday.
Al Fahad gave instructions to detain the absentees as a disciplinary measure, a security source told the daily. Kuwaiti authorities have been struggling with absenteeism in the public after it reached alarming levels amid official reports that only half of all employees showed up at work.
Kuwait’s Annual Leave Report, covering the period between January and March 2011, said half of the state’s employees were absent from work under various excuses, costing the country’s treasury more than KD10.5 million (Dh131 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 KD10.6 million.
The report said that in February, although the shortest of the three months under the study, had the highest percentage of sick leave applicants. Kuwait celebrated a string of national occasions during the month. According to the report, 8,799 people made “false claims” during the three months, saying they needed to see their doctors, but did not bring back medical reports attesting to the visits.
In August 2012, a minister referred several employees for investigation regarding their absenteeism. Abdul Aziz Al Ebrahim, the then minister for electricity and water and state minister for municipality affairs, made the decision as he made an inspection visit to municipality centres.
“Any failure by any employee reflects negatively on the services provided by the municipality to citizens and expatriate residents,” the minister said. According to KUNA, the minister toured several municipality offices, centres and sites to “monitor possible deficiencies and assess commitment to best practices and services.”