Sunday, May 28, 2023

9 Foreign Workers Rights Under Saudi Labor Law

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It’s well chronicled that Filipinos and other foreign workers are abused by employers in Saudi Arabia. While no doubt it’s wrong to exploit vulnerable workers who have fewer options and away from home, it’s also wrong for workers to fail to understand their rights.

So what are these so-called rights of expatriates and migrant workers?

Employees have the right not to spend on recruitment costs.

This means employers should shoulder expenses related to recruitment of the employee such as government fee, application for work permit, issue and renewal of Iqama and other related documentation. Should an employer demand that you pay for the above-mentioned items, you can bring him to court and file complaint.

Employees have the right to an Iqama

As the de facto identification that indicate someone has legal right to stay in Saudi Arabia, it is a basic requirement that an employer has to process for the employee. Iqama is so important that you have to bring it with you all the time. If your employer refuses to apply for your Iqama, you can also bring an employer to court.

Employees have the right to keep their passports

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Although this practice has been widespread based on accounts of Filipino workers particularly household service workers, the practice of employers keeping passports of employees for safekeeping, security or whatever reason is illegal. In 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement declaring that Saudi employers are required to hand over passports and iqama back to employees.

Employees have the right to complain if probation period exceeds 3 months

Just like in many other jobs, a probation period is establish to properly gauge if the employee skills fit the job and employee is happy with the working conditions set by the sponsor.

However, it is wrong to keep going with probation after the period. An employee has the right to ask for a proper employment contract after the probation period. Once the employer asks for extension of probation period, he is committing a violation of Saudi labor laws. It is also a right of the employee to ask for English or bilingual (English and Arabic) contract so terms of employment is clear to both parties.

Employees have the right to ask for overtime pay

In February, Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council voted to implement a 40-hour-week and two-day rest weekly for private employees. This means once you’re subjected to work for more than the prescribed hours, you are entitled to overtime pay of 1.5 times your normal hourly wage.

Employees have the right to vacation holidays

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Employees have the right to take a break from work not only because it’s a basic right, but it’s also mandated by Saudi labor laws. We have an extensive list of paid holiday and vacation leaves employees are entitled to.

Employees have the right to notice period on employment termination

As every employee needs to give a proper notice period if he wants to leave the company or organization, employees also need to do the same in case it wishes to terminate the working relationship with the employee.

Article 75 of Saudi Labor law (unofficial translation)

If the contract is of an indefinite term, either party may terminate it for a valid reason to be specified in a written notice to be served to the other party at least thirty days prior to the termination date if the workman is paid monthly and not less than fifteen days for others.

Employees have the right to receive End of Service benefits

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Employees who leave the organization after a certain number of years of service or due for retirement, the company is obliged to grant end of service benefits.

Employees have the right to ask for help from Saudi labor offices

To settle dispute between migrant workers and employers, the Saudi Arabian government set up 37 labor offices across the entire Kingdom. Unresolved issues can be elevated to the Preliminary Commission and the High Commission for settlement of labor disputes.

Note: We cannot vouch for the accuracy of the numbers nor the effectiveness of these labor offices.

Labour office Telephone No.
Labour Office in Riyadh Region 011/4039857
Labour Office in Kharj Province 011/4548231
Labour Office in Dawadmi Province 011/6420920
Labour Office in Majmaa’ Province 016/4321724
Labour Office in Wadi Addawasir Province 011/7840264
Labour Office in Zulfi Province 016/4220235
Labour Office in Shaqra Province 011/6221342
Labour Office in Makka Region 012/5420745
Labour Office in Jeddah Province 012/6311687
Labour Office in Taif Province 012/7461616
Labour Office in Qunfudah Province 017/7320761
Labour Office in Madinah Region 014/8654416
Labour Office in Yanbu Province 014/3222688
Labour Office in Al-Ula’ Province 014/8840830
Labour Office in Qassim Region (Buraidah) 016/3250387
Labour Office in Onaizah Province 016/3640285
Labour Office in Al-Rass Province 014/3333502
Labour Office in Hail Province 016/5321139
Labour Office in the Eastern Region (Dammam) 013/8261419
Labour Office in Ahsa’ Province 013/5822801
Labour Office in Hafr albatin Province 013/7220220
Labour Office in Khobar Province 013/8641541
Labour Office in Abqaiq Province 013/5661324
Labour Office in Jubail Province 013/3620150
Labour Office in Khafji Province 013/7660380
Labour Office in Ras Tannurah Province 013/6670424
Labour Office in Aseer Region (Abha) 017/2242128
Labour Office in Bisha Province 017/6226718
Labour Office in Baha Region 017/7253240
Labour Office in Najran Region 017/5224995
Labour Office in Jazan Region 017/3213671
Labour Office in Jauf Region 014/6241766
Labour Office in Qurayyat Province 014/6421108
Labour Office in Tabuk Province 014/4221181
Labour Office in Alwajh Province 014/4421970
Labour Office in the Northern Frontiers Region (Arar) 014/6627128
Labour Office in Turaif Province 014/6521029
Expatriate Workers’ Care Dept. 011/2104588
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