What is the maternity leave in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Labor Law gives many rights especially to women working in Saudi Arabia. These benefits are available in addition to the benefits generally available to all workers in Saudi Arabia. In this regard, maternity leave in Saudi Arabia is available for working women.

We have covered in detail the “Rights of Working Women under Saudi Labor Law”. The general rights available to all employees working in Saudi Arabia are covered in this link “Rights of Employees under Saudi Labor Law”.

  1. Medical Care to the Pregnant Woman

It is the responsibility of the employer to provide medical care during pregnancy and delivery to the working woman (Article 153 of Saudi Labor Law)

  1. Maternity Leave in Saudi Arabia

A working woman is entitled to a maternity leave of around 10 weeks. The maternity leave will be granted 4 weeks before the expected delivery date and 6 weeks after the actual delivery date. It is illegal to employ a woman 6 weeks after the actual delivery date. (Article 151 of Saudi Labor Law)

The expected delivery date will be determined by the medical certificate of the physician she is consulting with.  (Article 151 of Saudi Labor Law)

  1. Extension of Maternity Leave in Saudi Arabia

A working woman can extend her leave for a period of 1 month after the delivery date. But this leave will be unpaid. Amendments to Saudi Labor Law effective from 01/01/1437 have been considered. (Article 151 of Saudi Labor Law)

If the female employee delivers a baby with special needs and must need a permanent attendee, in this case, she will be entitled to a month leave with pay after the end of the maternity leave which can be further followed by an unpaid leave of an up to a month. Amendments to Saudi Labor Law effective from 01/01/1437 have been considered. (Article 151 (3) of Saudi Labor Law)

  1. Is the maternity leave fully paid or partially paid in Saudi Arabia?

Female employees in all cases are entitled to fully paid maternity leave in addition to fully paid annual leave. It is important to mention here that Article 152 of Saudi Labor Law has been abolished which used to provide for partially paid maternity leave in Saudi Arabia.

As a result, the maternity leave in Saudi Arabia will always be fully paid irrespective of the time the woman is employed with the employer.

  1. 1 Hour break after the maternity leave

Once the working woman is back to work after delivering her child, she will be entitled to one-hour break per day over and above the break hours provided to all other staff members. (Article 154 of Saudi Labor Law)

  1. Termination during Pregnancy and Maternity Leave
  • An employer cannot terminate the working woman within 180 days before expected date of delivery except as provided under Article 80 of Saudi Labor Law or except as provided under Article 157 of Saudi Labor Law (which is explained below) – Article 156 of Saudi Labor Law
  • An employer cannot terminate the working woman during the period of her maternity leave. (Article 155 of Saudi Labor Law)
  • An employer cannot terminate a working woman during her illness related to her pregnancy. But the period of absence of the working woman should not exceed 180 days.  (Article 156 of Saudi Labor Law)
  • However, a pregnant working woman can be terminated during her probation period.
  1. Working Woman cannot work anywhere else during her maternity leave

A working woman is not allowed to work for any other employer during her maternity leave. If it is established that she is working for another employer, the original employer may recover from her all the money paid to her for maternity leave.

  1. Maternity leave in Saudi Arabia for expats

Many people ask me this question if the maternity leave in Saudi Arabia for expats is the same as for Saudi Women? Let me answer the question in detail. Saudi Labor Law does not differentiate between Saudi Women and Expat Women.

All the provisions related to maternity leave in Saudi Arabia which have been described above are applicable to expat women as well. In other words, the maternity leave in Saudi Arabia for expats is the same as for Saudi Women.

A pregnant woman is entitled to the maternity leave irrespective if she stays in Saudi Arabia or travels outside the country on an exit-reentry visa.

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