Sunday, May 17, 2015

Favorable Changes in Leaves of Employees under Saudi Labor Law

I have been appreciating Saudi Government from last few months as they have been passing the rules and regulations in favor of expatriates now. In previous few months, they have made many amendments in the Saudi Labor Law and Residency Law in favor of expatriates. At the end, I believe it will lead to ending sponsorship system in Saudi Arabia. Read into this link for “Steps towards Ending Kafeel System in Saudi Arabia”. Expatriates living in Saudi Arabia can have another sigh of relief as the Council of Minister has approved new changes in the Saudi Labor Law. The director, Tayseer Al Mufrij stated that the new amendments in the law which were recently approved by the Council of Ministers will duly come into full effect in about six months after the announcement has been made public in the official gazette. The Cabinet has just approved 38 amendments in laws which were related to the labor regulations.

  1. Annual Leave must include Transport Allowance: For anyone who works in Saudi Arabia, vacation pay or annual leave is one sort bonus that everyone looks forward to. Different workplaces and employers have different rules as to how much vacation pay or annual leave pay an employee is entitled to, as Saudi Labor Law was silent about this matter. Tayseer Al Mufrij, who is the Spokesman of the Ministry of Labor and also the director of the information center, stated that a worker’s annual vacation salary should definitely include allowances for transport. The spokesman and director stated that as per the Article 220 of the labor regulation, every worker should file complaints with the concerned labor authorities if their employer does not give him a transportation allowance in his vacation pay. The director Al Mufrij was speaking to the Arabic Daily newspaper Al- Madina.

  2. Child Birth:According to the amendments made by the Cabinet, a worker is entitled to extend his leave to three days from one day, if his leave is due to his wife’s pregnancy or child birth. Earlier, employees were allowed only 1 day leave on Child’s Birth.
  3. Marriage Leaves: Those workers who want leave to go and get married may take leave for up to five days; this allowance was increased from the old limit of three days.
  4. Maternity Leave: According to the new amendments made by the Cabinet, a working woman has the right to arrange her maternity leave which is fully paid, in any way she might seem fit. The maternity leave for female workers starts with a maximum time of four weeks prior to the likely date of delivery. The woman also has the right to extend her maternity leave by an entire month; however the extra extended month’s salary will not be paid for by the employer. Her extended maternity leave, although unpaid, will not in any way affect her entitlement or her payment for her annual leave. Maternity and annual leave is separate legally. Recommended: Rules related to Maternity Leave for working women under Saudi Labor Law
  5. Sick Leave: The vacation period or period of financial assistance for any injury that might have been work related, has been increased to 60 days, or 2 months. The earlier work related injury period allowed was around 30 days or one month.
  6. Death of Husband: Along with most other vacation periods and allowances, the period of leave for “Iddah” which is the period of mourning or solitude that a Muslim woman must observe after the death of her husband or either her divorce has been increased to nearly four months and 10 days. This applies for those women whose husband has passed away.
  7. Relocation of Employee by Employer: As per the changes in Saudi Labor Law approved by Ministry of Labor, an employer cannot transfer an employee to another location without written permission of the employee. It means, if you are currently working in Jeddah and your employer wants to transfer you to Jezan, he cannot do it unless you have agreed with him in writing. However, employer has authority to relocate you in emergency situation without your consent for 30 days in a year. All the expenditures related to transfer from one place to another are to be borne by the employer.Source: Arab News
  8. Probation Period: It has been approved by the Ministry of Labor that the employer is required to provide leaves to the employee in probation on Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha and during illness. The laws related to Probation Period can be read in detail in this link "Probation Rules under Saudi Labor Law".
  9. Payment Schedule: An employer cannot change the payment schedule (monthly, weekly, daily, hourly) of the employee without having written consent of the employee.Source: Arab News
  10. Assigning Additional Work: As per Article 38 of the Saudi Labor Law, an employer cannot assign the work to an employee in addition to what has been agreed upon between them. In case of emergency, even if he has to assign it, it will not be more than 30 days in a year.Source: Arab News


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