Islam requires from a divorced or widowed woman to observe a period of Iddah in which she is confined to her house. She needs to live in her house for a period of around 130 days. She is not supposed to meet any non-mahram people during that period. She cannot marry another person during this period. The purpose of having this iddah period is to establish if a woman is pregnant and if she is pregnant, the child would be named in the fatherhood of her ex-husband or deceased husband. Since Saudi Arabia follows the teachings of Islam, now they have allowed working women a leave to spend her Iddah period at home.
Previously, every woman was entitled to a leave of 15 days from the date of death of her husband. Obviously, it was a paid leave. However, many people in Shoura requested the government to extend this leave to cover the period of Iddah as per teachings of Islam. How can you ask a woman to come to work during an Iddah period?
As per the changes in Saudi Labor Law approved by the Ministry of Labor, a Muslim female employee is entitled to a leave of 4 months and 10 days. It is a paid leave and every employer is required to give it to its female employees. If it is discovered that the woman employee is pregnant, she can extend this leave till her delivery. However, the first 4 months and 10 days will be paid and remaining period will remain unpaid – Article 160 (1) of Saudi Labor Law
The woman employee needs to provide death certificate and other supporting documentation to her employer to avail this leave – Article 160 (2) of Saudi Labor Law
It should be noted that the Saudi Labor Law provides 4 months and 10 days leave only in the case of death of her husband and not in the case of divorce and I think it makes sense.