Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Domestic Workers' Law in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Labor Law was silent about the rights of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia from a long time. A lot of criticism was made upon it. As a result of this, many countries like Srilanka and Bangladesh stopped issuing visas for housemaids to Middle East. Almost every second week we read a story about a housemaid or other domestic worker becoming victim of their Kafeels. Finally, a beam of hope for domestic workers is noticed when Ministry of Labor passed a Law for Saudi domestic workers. We have explained below some highlights of these regulations for domestic workers. Domestic workers mean those workers whose Kafeel is an individual not a business.

Legal Contract
Domestic workers will be having a right to sign contract with Kafeel in which his salary and other benefits will be mentioned. Moreover, job responsibilities of the domestic worker should be written in detail. He is not obliged to perform any other duties over and above his contractual obligations. According to the law, workers are bound to follow work-related orders dished out by their employers or their family members. Workers are also bound to safeguard their employers’ property and not harm children and elderly persons that live in these households or disclose family secrets. It is important to mention here that domestic workers can only transfer their sponsorship to individuals for household work. They cannot be transferred to a business.

Deductions from Salaries
Employer is not allowed to deduct salary from the salary of domestic worker except from the following cases;

  1. If domestic worker has destroyed something intentionally.
  2. As a deduction of advance initially taken by the domestic worker
  3. If some fines are paid by the employer on behalf of the employee upon direction of court.

However, proposed law also states that this deduction should not exceed half of the salary of the domestic worker.

Annual Leave
A domestic worker is entitled to one month’s paid leave after two years of working with the employer. Moreover, domestic workers are also entitled to one day’s holiday in a week.

Probation Period

Probation period of domestic workers cannot exceed more than 90 days. Both parties are free to leave each other within the probation period unless the contract embodies a clause giving the right to terminate the contract to only one of them. Under the new law, employees should not refuse to work or leave their work without genuine reason or work for their own accounts, in addition to having to respect the Islamic faith and the Kingdom’s regulations.

End of Service Benefits

A domestic worker will be entitled to End of Service Benefits according to the new law passed by the Ministry of Labor. However, calculation of end of service benefits for the domestic workers is different from the other workers living in Saudi Arabia. A domestic worker will be entitled to one month's Salary after every four consecutive years he has worked for an employer. Let's say, if a domestic worker has worked for an employer for 12 consecutive years, he will be entitled to 3 monthly salaries.

Violation of the Law

Employers who break the law will be fined SR 2,000 ($533) and be banned from recruiting another domestic help for a year, according to Arab News. Second-time offenders will be fined SR 5,000 and banned from recruiting for three years, while three breaches will incur a life-time recruitment ban and a fine of SR 10,000. If some employee violates the law, he will be fined with SR 20,000/-

Domestic Workers in Saudi Arabia
  1. How to Hire a Housemaid in Saudi Arabia?
  2. Cruelty at its peak for Housemaids in Saudi Arabia
  3. Black Market of Housemaids in Saudi Arabia
  4. What to do if Kafeel dies in Saudi Arabia?


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