Saudi Arabia is the 13th largest country in the world by land area, with a population of over 34.27 million. It comprises 13 regions, also known as the Emirates, including Riyadh, Mecca, and northern border regions. It is also the biggest nation in the Middle East and the second biggest republic in the Arab realm. It is the only country with a coastline that comes across both the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. Most of its landscape consists of lowland, desert, steppe, and mountains.
There have been several labor and employment law developments in Saudi Arabia over the past few months. Various new measures have been implemented in the workplace to manage the effects of the ongoing pandemic.
The Labor Code of Saudi Arabia
Every employee who works within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is protected by the Saudi Labor Law. The Saudi Labor Law sets out the framework of labor rights and organizational rules, including employee rights to paid leave, disciplinary penalties, and other procedures.
The labor law applies to both domestic and foreign workers. However, before foreign workers can work in the country, they need to obtain a work permit from the Ministry of Labor. The work permit is granted on the basis of fulfilling certain conditions. In addition, foreign workers must also possess the fundamental academic and professional skills needed in the workplace.
Some of the important terms and conditions mentioned under their labor law are:
The labor law dictates that every employee should be designated a 90-day probationary period. During this period, either the employer or the employee has the right to end the contract without bearing any liability.
The employee, upon termination, is required to protect the employer’s trade secrets in terms of the type of work, expectation, and duration. The employer, on the other hand, is also required to protect the employee’s personal data and information even after termination.
Maternity Leave for Women
Women are entitled to a maternity leave of at least four weeks before the expected due date. Female employees with less than three years of service are compensated at half their salary during their maternity leave; those with more than three years of experience are paid in full.
Compensation for Work Injuries
The law compels employers to pay attention to the health and safety of their workers, especially employees who are working in dangerous environments with heavy machinery or equipment. An employee who suffers a workplace injury is entitled to receive compensation in the amount of his full pay for 30 days. Employees should be covered under health insurance and must be compensated if they get sick or disabled.
The purpose of having a labor law is to foster a healthy relationship between the employer and the employees. The law mandates that every employee is entitled to basic rights at the workplace, such as holidays, salary, etc. Employees are also given protection against workplace harassment and unlawful dismissal.