Favorable Amendments in the Saudi Labor Law for Expatriates

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 to 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. Expatriates living in Saudi Arabia can have another sigh of relief as the Ministry of Labor as approved new changes in the Saudi Labor Law which will ultimately favor expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. I have explained all these approved changes in the Saudi Labor Law in the below paragraphs.

5 Days paid leave in the event of Death of a Kin: An employee who is working in the private sector is entitled to have a leave of 5 days which is with full pay in the case of his marriage or the death of the wife, children or parents. This new amendment to the labor law will come into effect on 8 Oct. the Ministry of Labor announced.  In other case, employees are also entitled to leave of 3 days in the case of death of a newborn baby. However, in this scenario, the employer may ask the employee to provide documentary evidence.

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, the employer has authority to relocate you in an 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.

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”.

Payment Schedule: An employer cannot change the payment schedule (monthly, weekly, daily, hourly) of the employee without having written consent of the employee. In accordance with the newly amended law, the workers working on daily wage will be given their wage per week. Additionally, those daily wage workers, who are working part time, will be paid every 2 weeks. 

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 the case of emergency, even if he has to assign it, it will not be more than 30 days in a year.

Termination without Notice Period: Currently, an employer can terminate his employee if the worker is absent from work for more than 20 days without any valid reason, and employer has sent him 2 warnings through emails or to his registered address after completing 10 days and 15 days of absenteeism, employer can terminate him without any notice. We have explained this in this link “Termination without Notice Period”. However, as per the changes in Saudi Labor Law proposed by Ministry of Labor, this period of 20 days has been increased to 30 days in a year.

Working Hours and Overtime: Currently, an employee can be required to work for 48 hours in a week and 8 hours a day. Moreover, the working hours during Ramadan cannot exceed 36 hours in a week and 6 hours in a day. I have covered this in detail in this link “Working Hours and Overtime in Saudi Arabia”. However, as per the changes in Saudi Labor Law proposed by Ministry of Labor, there are strict laws in place which prohibit employees in staying at the workplace for a period longer than 12 hours. Additionally, there is also to be a 30-minute break after a five hour work period. This break could be used to eat food or to generally rest or perform prayer

Source: Arab News

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