Most of the families currently residing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have one or more domestic workers employed in the households. Despite such many domestic workers living and working in the households in the Kingdom, not many households know the basic legalities, rights, and obligations of either the domestic worker or the employer.
This can sometimes turn into trouble; hence it is best to familiarize yourself with the rights and obligations of those people who employ domestic workers.[irp]
Housing the domestic worker: The employer of the domestic worker is obliged to provide the domestic worker with a suitable residence or housing arrangement.
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.
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 the 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 lifetime recruitment ban and a fine of SR 10,000. If some employee violates the law, he will be fined with SR 20,000/-
The probation period for the domestic worker:
- Both parties can agree to place the domestic worker on a probation period which cannot exceed ninety days. During the probation period, the employer must ensure the complete professional competence of the domestic worker and proper personal conduct as well.
- It is also not permitted to put the same domestic worker on probation more than once under the same employer unless both concerned parties agree that the domestic worker should be in a different profession.
- The employer can legally terminate the contract upon their own will during the probation period of the domestic worker without any of the responsibility falling on him, if and only if the domestic worker is proved to be unfit.
Contracting: The working relationship between the employer and the domestic worker must be regulated by a contract in written form. The Arab language should be the prevalent version. The main contract and any and all translation should be issued in three different copies, with each concerned party keeping once copy and a third one being deposited at the Private Recruitment Office. There should also be clear understanding about the following main factors;
- The wage that will be paid by the employer to the domestic worker
- The type of work and duties which have to be performed by the domestic worker
- Duration of the probation period.
- Obligations and rights of both the concerned parties.
- Complete duration of the contract and method of a contract extension.
Termination of Contract during the probation period: The employer and employee can also terminate the contract for the following reasons.
If the employment contract drawn up between employer and the domestic worker has expired or has been canceled by the employer for any illegal reason, or by the domestic worker for any illegal reason, the employer will bear the total cost of the value of repatriation or deportation charges to the country of origin of the worker.
The contract will legally expire upon the death of the employer for the domestic worker. If the family of the employer is willing to keep the domestic worker hired, they must confer with the labor office with the accurate name of the employer.
When the domestic worker quits their job, the employer should Inform the office of the Domestic Labor Care. After 24 hours proceed to the expatriate office located in the Passport Department and complete the necessary procedure which is based upon the letter which is received by the Domestic Labor Care office.
Inform the department of passports about the domestic worker’s absence for them to take the necessary action. Inform the labor office in order t ensure that the domestic worker has no claim made against the employer. If there is any claim made by either employee or employer, then the labor office must inform the department of passports. Provide the employer with a copy of the work absence notification form.
The employers of domestic workers are obliged to;
To not assign any work to the domestic worker that has not been agreed upon in the legal contract, to not make the domestic worker work for others, except in necessary cases, ensuring the work asked to be done is not different from their original work.
To not assign the domestic worker with any work that is risky of may be harmful to their health or safety, or give any negative effects to their dignity.
To not sublet the domestic worker, or allow them to work for their own account.
The wage that has been agreed upon: The employer of the domestic worker is obliged;
- To pay the wage that had been agreed upon the end of each month of the Islamic calendar, unless both parties agree differently to this on the written contract.
- To pay the entitlements and wage in the form of check or cash only, and they should also document the transaction in writing unless the domestic worker asks for the funds to be transferred into an account.
Deductions from the wage: The wages of the domestic worker cannot be deducted, except for in the following cases, and they may not be cut more than half the total wage;
- The cost of what they may have negligently or intentionally broken or damaged.
- Any advance or down payment that they have received from the employer.
- The implementation of an administrative decision or court judgment which has been issued against the domestic worker, unless it has been stipulated in the judgment by the court that the deduction is exceeding half of the wage of the domestic worker
Daily off hours: The domestic workers or labor or worker employed in a household in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must be given at least nine hours of rest per day.
Sick leave: All domestic workers and labor are entitled to paid sick leave; however, the duration of this paid sick leave cannot exceed thirty days in a single year. The domestic worker has to, however, prove their need for the sick leave by an authorized medical report.
Medical care: Complete medical care will be provided to every domestic worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in accordance with the rules and regulations that have been enforced and set in place by the Saudi Authorities.
Weekly rest time: All domestic workers or labor are eligible to get one day off from the entire week. This is however based mainly upon the agreement that is drawn up between the employer and the domestic worker in the legal contract of employment.