Amid persistent reports on the termination of Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, Filipino workers who receive termination notices from their employers or who have been terminated without valid cause are advised to get in touch with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) nearest their place of work (Riyadh, Jeddah and al-Khobar). POLO officers will provide the necessary assistance to the complainants.
These reports identify the Nitaqat system under the new Saudization policy as the reason for the recent incidents of termination of Filipino workers. The Saudi government has already announced that the Nitaqat system will start on 11 September 2011 and even then the companies who fail to comply with the Saudization targets (red-coded or yellow-coded companies) are given grace periods of 6 months and 9 months, respectively, from 11 June 2011, to improve their situation.
It is noted that the Nitaqat system honors existing work contracts. The sanction for non-complying companies will be the non-renewal of work permits of foreign workers, and not their illegal termination. This is the reason why the work permits of foreign workers in red-coded companies will not be renewed, and that the work permits of foreign workers in yellow-coded companies will be limited to 6 years.
Under the Saudi Labor Law, the employer can terminate the work contract in the following cases: (1) the worker assaults the employer or any of his superiors, (2) the worker fails to perform his essential obligations or obey legitimate orders from his superiors, (3) it is established that the worker committed a misconduct or act of dishonesty, (4) if the worker deliberately commits any act or default with the intent to cause material loss to the employer, (5) if the worker resorts to forgery to obtain his job, (6) if the worker is under probationary period, (7) if the worker is absent without valid reason, (8) if the worker unlawfully takes advantage of his position for personal gain, and (9) if the worker divulges work-related industrial or commercial secrets of the employer.
Affected workers are given the chance to refute the ground(s) for their termination. They can also file a complaint with the Saudi Labor Office for illegal termination.
The Filipino community is advised to regularly visit the Philippine Embassy website [www.philembassy-riyadh.org] for updates on the implementation of the Nitaqat system.