Saudi Labour Law (Basic Information)
The Ministry of Labour in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia welcomes all people coming to work and wishes that they have a successful period until they complete their work and return to their home countries. The Ministry, along with all concerned agencies, would like to assure all workers that they arc guests of the Ministry, and is keen to take care of them in accordance with the Islamic Lain (Shari’ah), applicable rules and International Charters. The Ministry of Labour has prepared this Manual Guide for migrants coming to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to provide basic information on the Kingdom and to illustrate the provisions of the Labour Law and its rules of implementation that determine the relation between worker and employer which in turn would result in providing a suitable work environment for migrants, preserving their rights and establishing an appropriate work relation between the two parties of production. This Guide will lead to a better understanding of the labour market in the Kingdom. The Ministry hopes that this Manual Guide would achieve its expected access and the meant objective. Also the migrant worker will find between this Guide’s pages the answers to what questions he/she has in mind. The Ministry wants to prepare the worker to know about the work environment in the Kingdom and then coping with it when arriving. However, embassies and consulates working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia hopefully will coordinate with the concerned agencies in their own countries to consider this Manual a basic source guide for migrant workers by which they can get to know what lawfully rights they have and what they arc obligated to do. The Ministry of Labour wishes you a successful and prosperous work period .
Basic Information on the Kingdomeof Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consists of thirteen regions, they are:
1. Riyadh region
2. Makkah region
3. Eastern region 4. Madinah region
5. Qassim region
6. Aseer region
7. Jazan region
8. Najran region
9. Tabuk region
10. Northern Border region
11. Hail region
12. Baha region
13. Jouf region
.:. Capital: Riyadh
.:. Population: 20.8 Mil1ipn
.:. Religion: Islam
.;. Official Language: Arabic
.:. National Day: The first day of Libra, corresponding to September 23.
.:. Currency: Saudi Riyal (SR. = 100 Halala) US. $1 = SR. 3.75.
.:. The state adopts free market economy method. It opens its doors to workers from all over the world with no limitations, provided that they meet the physical, professional, educational and training conditions. Employers may apply to recruit labours from all countries around the world within the framework of the Labour Law, implementing decisions and other related applied laws.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Labour Law is a comprehensive law which regulates all aspects of work relation. It is also a balanced law which provides for both workers and employers what is needed to regulate work relation between the two parties. This law is applicable to all workers, with no exceptions, whether they were Saudis or non-Saudis. Respecting the laws and considering their provisions assist to achieve the stability of work relation, and such stability is the key to progress and development. Based on this concept, the Ministry of Labour published this Manual for workers and for all who are interested in work relation in the Kingdom. The Ministry also advices, especially workers, to consider the following:
- Make sure that the work contract is made in writing.
2.Being punctual in work timing.
3.Try not to be absent from work without a prior permission or an acceptable excuse.
4.Comply with the orders of your superiors at work.
5.Do not misuse tools and machineries at the establishment and work place.
6.Do not make any hostile act against your superiors by word or deed.
7 .Do not fake illness.
8.Do not ignore the instructions of occupational safety and health.
9.Try not to run away from the work place unless it is an emergency.
10. Resume work immediately after the annual vacation or any other leaves.
11 .After entering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, make sure that the employer had started in the procedures for issuing work permit and resident permit within (90) days of your arrival. Any permit or license required by other agencies to conduct a work and profession will not replace the need for the work permit.
12 .Work only for the employer who recruited you. If you work with other than your employer, this would be considered illegal, unless formal procedures are done.
13. Do not engage in a profession other than the one registered in your work permit before performing regulatory procedures.
14. In case you face any problem or grievance from certain individuals within the establishment in which you work, and you could not friendly resolve it, then approach the concerned labour office in your area.
15. Trade of people or visas is considered illegal practice and who conducts such action would be punished according to the law.
16. The establishment shall bear the costs of medical care for its workers according to the Labour Law and the rules of implementation for regulating the establishment work approved by the Ministry of Labour.
17. The establishment should register all its w9rkers in the Occupational Hazards Branch. In the event of occupational injuries and diseases, rules and provisions of the Occupational Hazards Branch of the Social Insurance Law will be applied.
Work Permit, Resident permit and Recruitment Fees
1. The employer must obtain a work permit and resident permit for the recruited worker within (90) days as of the arrival date of the worker in the Kingdom. In case the work permit and resident permit were not obtained, the employer shall be deemed responsible to pay penalties accordingly. Moreover, the work conducted by the worker, in this case, is in violation of the Law and the decisions regulating the recruitment of non-Saudi. Workers in such circumstances may report this case to the concerned labour office in order to make the necessary procedures towards the employer.
2. The worker should be physically fit to do the work he/she was recruited for and should not be suffering from any diseases proved by a medical report issued for each worker from one of the specialized medical centers in the Kingdom, according to applicable instructions made for this purpose.
3. Work permit is issued for one or two years renewable for a same period of validity with the approval of the employer and the worker for renewal. In this case, the work permit should immediately be renewed upon expiry, if the employer fails to renew the work permit and the resident permit, the applicable penalties to those who violate the laws of residence and labour shall be imposed on that employer. Whereas the worker is the one aggrieved for not renewing such permit, he/ she shall ask the employer to renew the work permit and the resident permit as long as the work relation remained ongoing. If the employer did not respond to that, the worker should report this to the concerned labour office to make the proper procedures towards the employer.
4. The employer is obligated to bear the fees for worker entry visa, in addition to the fees for resident permit, work permit and transferring the worker’s services in relation to work. Also the employer shall bear the fees for issuing Exit and Return Visa.
5. All workers should carry with them the work permit and the resident permit whenever they travel within the Kingdom, and they should present such permits to officials from related governmental agencies, such as labour offices and the Directorate General for Passport.
How can the work permit and the resident permit be obtained?
I. Work Permit.
The Ministry of Labour (Labour Offices) issues the work permit according to certain conditions. As for the worker, the following conditions must be met:
1. Worker entry to the Kingdom must be legal.
2 .Worker should be contracted with a Saudi employer or with an authorized non-Saudi employer under the Investment Law.
3. Worker should have occupational ability or hold educational qualifications required by the state.
4. Worker should hold a valid passport for at least six months.
5 .Worker should be physically fit and not suffering from any diseases.
II. Resident permit
The resident permit is issued by the Directorate General for Passports located all over the Kingdom’s regions according to specified conditions. (Note: Most companies retained a copy of Residence Permit in the expat 201 file since Work Permit and Residence permit are one in nature).
The work contract is a contract signed by both of the employer and the worker, where the latter is obligated by this contract to work under the management and supervision of the employer in turn for a wage. It also includes the terms of work agreed upon between both parties.
1. Before arriving in the Kingdom, the worker should have obtained a work contract signed by the worker and the employer (or a representative) with whom the worker will work. This contract should be written in Arabic. It may be written in another language in addition to Arabic, knowing that the Arabic version is the one that will be considered. There must be no other contracts signed.
2.The worker should obtain his/her copy of the contract and should hold on to it during the work period in the Kingdom.
3. The work contract should state the date of signing and the date of commencement. The location and period of work should also be specified in case the contract is time-limited. Additionally, the wage and allowances must be mentioned in the contract as well as the worker occupation.
4. The worker shall be under a probational period for three months as of the date of starting work. The worker should not be subjected to a probationl period more than once with any employer. It must be stated in the contract, clearly and in writing, that the worker will be subjected to a period of probation. Also the period must be clearly specified.
Working Hours and Vacations
1. The maximum limit for regular working hours is eight hours per day or (48) hours per week. The working hours may increase or decrease by the approval of the Ministry of Labour in accordance with the provisions of the Labour Law. Such change depends on the type of activity and the nature of work. The period of time the worker spends on commutation, prayer and rest shall not be accounted for in working hours. However, during the month of Ramadan, working hours will decrease by two hours for the workers who perform Fasting.
2. The worker is paid an extra amount of wage for over-time working hours equals the wage he/she receives in a regular day plus (50%), whereas one hour of over time equals (150%).
3. Friday is an official holiday (day oft) with full pay. After the approval from the concerned labour office, the employer may replace that day for some of the workers with any day of the week, provided that the number of working days shall not exceed six days. The workers are to be allowed in all circumstances to perform their religious obligations.
4. The worker is entitled to an annual vacation no less than a period of fifteen days if he/ she had spent in service one full year and this period is fully paid in advance. The vacation may increase to twenty one days whenever the worker spends ten consecutive years in service with the employer. It may be agreed upon to extend such vacation period if such extension is provided in the work contract or the labour rules of implementation for regulating work for the establishment. The employer may decide the start of such vacation according to work needs. The worker may take unpaid vacation no longer than ten days in one year, provided that the employer approves this.
4. The worker is entitled to a full pay sick leave for the first thirty days of his/her sickness, then 3/4 of wage pay for the following sixty days in one year. The sick leave is provided according to a “medical report issued from a physician approved by the employer. If the employer has no authorized physician, the medical report may be issued by a physician assigned by the specialized agency of the government.
5. The worker is entitled to other paid vacations as follows:
a. Three days in case of marriage.
b. One day in case of child birth..
c. Three days for Eid Al fiter holiday as of the following day o fthe twenty ninth of Ramadan.
d. Four days for Eid Aladha as of the day Pilgrims a represent in Arafat.
e. One day for the National Day of the Kingdom corresponding to the first of Libra (23 of September).
f. The employer (upon his wish) may extend periods of Eid holiday vacations more than what were mentioned above whether before or after the specified dates.
g. For female workers, pregnancy and birth vacation is detailed as follows:
(1) The female worker is entitled to a period of vacation for ten weeks, four of such are prior to the expected date of delivery and the other six weeks are after delivery. The expected date to give birth is estimated by the establishment’s physician or by a medical report certified by the Ministry of Health. The employer should not make any female worker conduct her duties during the first six weeks after she gives birth. During the pregnancy and delivery vacation, the female workers are paid half of their wages if they spent one year or more in service with the employer. They will be paid their full wages if theyhad three years or more of service as of the start date of the vacation.
(2) The female worker, after returning to work from pregnancy and delivery vacation, may take rest breaks no longer than one hour per day in order to nurse her baby, in addition to rest breaks given to all workers.
(3) The employer shall bear the expenses of physical examination, treatment and delivery.
(4) The employer should not dismiss the female worker during her pregnancy and birth vacation.
Termination of Work Contract
The work contract signed by the worker and the employer IS terminated in the following cases:
1. If both parties agreed to terminate the contract, provided that the worker approval should be in writing.
2. If the contract specified period has ended.
3. The work contract specified period shall be terminated by the end of the work contract period. If the employer and the worker continued with the contract execution, the contract shall be considered without a specified period for its termination.
4. The employer and the worker may terminate the work contract which do not has a specified period, due to a legitimate reason after notifying the other party in writing thirty days before termination.
5. The worker should not be dismissed from work without a justified reason. In case the worker was dismissed without a justified reason, he/she may approach the concerned labour office within two weeks of termination.
6. The employer may dismiss the worker without a prior notice in any of the following cases:
a. If the worker impersonate a fake personality or a nationality, or had submitted false certificates or documents.
b. If the worker was under the probational period or prior to the end of the probational period.
c. If the worker intentionally or negligently made a mistake in which a sizable financial loss inflected on part of the employer, provided that the employer reports this to the concerned agencies within (24) hours as of the time the employer knew about such mistake or neglect.
d. If the worker violates the instructions of work safety or place of work.
e. If the worker did not care for the main duties on his/her part according to the work contract.
f. If the worker was legally convicted or sentenced by a court for a moral crime or an offence that affects honor, trust or morals.
g. If the worker discloses any secrets of the establishment in which he/she works.
h. If the worker assaults the employer or the responsible manager during working hours.
i. If the worker was absent without a. justified reason for more than twenty non-consecutive days or ten consecutive days during one year.
1. When the work contract ends, the next presumed step is for the worker to return to his/her country after receiving all entitlements. If the employer did not commit to deliver all the worker’s entitlements, the worker should report this to any labour office located all over the Kingdom.
2. The instructions state that any worker can not obtain a travel visa unless the employer submits a proof that the worker had received all his/her entitlements.
Private Recruitment Agencies
1. There is a number of authorized private recruitment agencies in the Kingdom allowed to intermediately recruit workers from outside the Kingdom.
2. These agencies work according to specific rules. They are not allowed to take any fees from the worker for intermediate recruitment. Moreover, these agencies collect their fees from employers who requested them to participate in recruiting workers from abroad. Such dealings are agreed upon between the two parties (the authorized agency and the employer).
3. In case any Saudi private recruitment agency requires to be paid any amounts of money from any worker as fees for recruitment, the worker should report this to the nearest labour office in the Kingdom in order to take necessary procedures towards the owner of such agency. These procedures are being made because the recruitment agency is not permitted to charge any fees from workers in accordance with the provisions of the Saudi Labour Law, decisions and provisions regulating the work of the private recruitment agencies.
4. Private recruitment agencies may recruit workers for their own private work and under their supervision for the purpose of providing interested employers with labours (labour services)for a limited time period according to regulating provisions for these services, provided that such labours supplied by private recruitment agencies are only male workers. This does not apply to the provision of female workers.
5. There are restrictions for providing labour services. The most important of these restrictions are:
a-Providing appropriate accommodation for workers.
b-The signed contract between the recruited worker and the recruitment agency must state that the agency has the right to assign the worker under its supervision to provide labour services for employers interested in such tasks.
c-Complying with all obligations imposed by Labour Law, Social Insurance Law, implementing regulations and decisions issued for the application of such two laws.
d-Provision of labour services should be supplied in adequate wages.
Labour Offices and Settling Labour Disputes Committees
There are thirty seven labour offices located all over the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia distributed within its regions and most of its districts according to the table shown at the end of this Manual guide. Every worker may approach any of these offices and inquire about any issue relating to his/her work relation with the employer in order to be enlightened as to his/her obligations and rights. The worker may submit a complaint to the labour office nearest to him/her. Labour offices look into all labour disputes and seek to friendly settle these disputes between the worker and the employer. If this was not accomplished, the case shall be raised to specialized labour committees. These committees are considered as special courts to study the labour cases and make decisions in accordance with the Labour Law.
These committees are:
- Preliminary Committees for Settling Labour Disputes.
- High Committee for Settling Disputes, which has a number of divisions in the Kingdom’s regions. Ninth: List of Labour Offices in the Kingdom by Regions and Districts with their telephone numbers, and the telephone number of the Department of Migrant Labour Care in the Ministry.
LABOUR OFFICE PHONE No.
LABOUR OFFICE IN RIYADH REGION (RIYADH) 01 4024444
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALKHARJ DISTRICT 01 5448231
LABOUR OFFICE IN ADDUWADIMI DISTRICT 01 6431803
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALMAJMA’AH DISTRICT 06 4321724
LABOUR OFFICE IN WADI ADDAWASIR DISTRICT 01 7840264
LABOUR OFFICE IN AZZULFI DISTRICT 06 4220235
LABOUR OFFICE IN SHAQRA DISTRICT 01 6221342
LABOUR OFFICE IN MAKKAH REGION (MAKKAH) 02 5420745
LABOUR OFFICE IN JIDDAH DISTRICT 02 6311687
LABOUR OFFICE IN ATTAIF DISTRICT 02 7461616
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALQUNFUDHAH DISTRICT 07 7321250
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALMADINAH REGION (ALMADINAH) 04 8272747
LABOUR OFFICE IN YANBU DISTRICT 04 3222688
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALULA DISTRICT 04 8840830
LABOUR OFFICE IN QASSIM REGIONIBURAYDAH) 06 3250387
LABOUR OFFICE IN UNAYZAH DISTRICT 06 3640285
LABOUR OFFICE IN ARRASS DISTRICT 06 3333502
LABOUR OFFICE IN HAIL DISTRICT (HAIL) 06 5321139
LABOUR OFFICE IN EASTERN REGION (DAMMAM) 03 8261419
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALAHSA DISTRICT 03 5820835
LABOUR OFFICE IN HAFAR ALBATEN DISTRICT 03 7220220
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALKHUBAR DISTRICT 03 8641541
LABOUR OFFICE IN BUQAYQ DISTRICT 03 5661324
LABOUR OFFICE IN AWUBA YL DISTRICT 03 3620150
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALKHAFJI DISTRICT 03 7660380
LABOUR OFFICE IN RAS TANNURAH DISTRICT 03 6670424
LABOUR OFFICE IN ASEER REGION IABHA) 07 2242128
LABOUR OFFICE IN BISHAH DISTRICT 07 6226718
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALBAHAH REGION (ALBAHAH) 07 7253240
LABOUR OFFICE IN NAJRAN REGION (NAJRAN ) 07 5221431
LABOUR OFFICE IN JAZAN REGION (JAZAN) 07 3226446
LABOUR OFFICE IN AWAWF REGION (SKAKA ) 04 6241766
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALQURAYYAT DISTRICT 04 6421108
LABOUR OFFICE IN TABUK REGION ( TABUK) 04 4221181
LABOUR OFFICE IN ALWAJH DISTRICT 04 4421970
LABOUR OFFICE IN NORTHERN BORDER REGION (ARAR\ 04 6627128
LABOUR OFFICE IN TURAYF DISTRICT (AT THE MINISTRY) 04 6521029