Weekends are not part of Annual Leave, SR 100,000 fine for Violation

Saudi Ministry of Labor has announced annual leaves mandatory for all employees whether they are working in private or public companies. These annual leaves are the legal right of an employee and have to be paid as per annual leaves policy issued by the ministry of employment. Some companies apply their individual rules on annual leaves and count weekends in the context of annual leaves. This way these companies and organizations deprive employees of their basic right to utilize annual leaves. These annual leave include sick leaves, emergency vacations and traditional holidays comprising of religious and national celebrations and events. Recommended: Rules related to Annual Leave under Saudi Labor Law[irp]

Some employers are trying to consume annual leaves of employees and adjust it in weekend holidays which completely deprive employees from the relaxation of paid leaves. Taking notice of this violation of annual leaves requirement by employment law in Saudi Arabia, the ministry has circulated a circular which has clearly notified that those companies which will be found involved in such activity will be fine. Ministry of Labor has taken witnesses from different cases especially in private sector where employer companies have been found involved in several violations. Complaints against violation of annual leaves rule have been reported by many local and expatriate employees. It points towards an attempt of employer companies to over-burden employees with work offering no additional payments.

It has led to low morale and defected loyalty level among employees which has not only affected individual lives of employees but has also impacted the economy. Taking the notice of this issue over multiple complaints made, Saudi Labor Law has introduced punishment of fine and closure of employer companies which are trying to exploit rights of employees in regard of annual leaves. It has made clear by the ministry to employers that annual leaves are not part of weekend holidays and will be available to employees with wages.

Employees have less awareness about their rights in Saudi Arabia hence this factor is duly exploited by employers. Some employees fear to lose their jobs and employers take advantage of their being deserving. Weekend offs are officially announced holidays and have no replacement or adjustment over any other holiday. It is compulsory for all companies to follow this rule and they are not entitled to adjust officially announced holidays anywhere else to exploit rights of naïve employees. Moreover, no employer can deduct salary of an employee for weekend holidays in any case. These statements are duly circulated by Saudi Ministry of Labor to all large, medium and small companies and other individual employers.[irp]

Penalties for Violation of the Rule

  • Penalties for violation of this law have also been announced that every company will be fined for SR 100,000.
  • If companies will not pay fine in time, the fine penalty will be increased on daily basis of non-submission of fine.
  • In case the violation will be continued after fine, the alleged company will be banned for 30 days.
  • Even if the violation of rule will become severe the ministry has right to cancel the license of such companies.

Source: Saudi Gazette