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Uniformity in rules is major highlight of new Labor Law
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 16 - 10 - 2015

RIYADH – All private employers in the Kingdom shall formulate an executive bylaw of labor rules for their staff, strictly in compliance with a uniform model of labor rules and regulations that was prepared by the Ministry of Labor. This uniform model is the major highlight of the new Labor Law, which comes into effect on Sunday, according to Deputy Minister of Labor Ahmad Al-Humaidan.
Addressing a press conference at the ministry headquarters here on Thursday, Al-Humaidan explained the salient features of the new Labor Law, which has 38 amended articles. He said the uniform model aims at unifying the rights of workers and regulating the functioning of the firms, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
"The employers can include additional conditions and rules in the bylaw provided that they are not in violation of the rules of the labor law and its executive bylaw," he said. The updates in the Labor Law cover Saudization privileges, provision of training and rehabilitation of Saudi jobseekers, disciplinary procedures, creating appropriate environment for women staff, inspection mechanism and labor contracts. The new law protects workers' rights in the private sector and puts a limit to violations that affect the rights of workers and employers. It also guarantees a better work environment.
Al-Humaidan said private firms must place their workers on a 180-day probation period, and there should be a documentary agreement between the two parties in this regard. The probation period for a second time is allowed only in case of changing the profession at the firm or the worker leaves the firm and returns after six months. In both cases, the worker should be on another probation period of the same duration.
The amendments give the ministry authority to prevent renewal of work permit as long as the employer continues to violate the special criteria set by the ministry for Saudization of jobs. According to the amendments, the work contract shall be deemed ended in the event of the closure of the firm or halting the activity for which the worker is hired.
According to Al-Humaidan, fixed-term work contracts have now been extended from three to four years. If a contract is renewed three times in succession, then it would become open-ended. Those firms with more than 50 employees have to provide training to those number of Saudis, equal to 12 percent of the total staff, rather than the previous condition of six percent. Those who are completing their studies abroad at the expense of the employer could be included among these Saudis. An employee cannot be transferred to another place, which is not in the city of his residence, without obtaining a written consent from him.
Workers on monthly payrolls are allowed to give 60 days' notice for termination of service if the contract was not for a fixed term. In case of not giving two-month notice period, the worker is entitled to get monetary allowance for this period unless there is no contractual agreement for a higher compensation. Under any circumstances, the compensation shall not be less than two month salary. During the notice period, the worker can be absent from duty for one day in a week or eight hours during the week to search for another job with full pay. The worker can be terminated without any allowance or compensation in case of unauthorized absence for 30 days.
Work hours and emergency leave, including in cases of deaths in the family or giving birth, were also specified under the new amendments. An employee in the private sector is entitled to have five-day leave with full pay for his marriage or in case of the death of his/her spouse or one of the parents or children. In the event of death of husband, a woman employee shall be given leave for iddah period of four months and 10 days. If the woman is pregnant, she can take non-pay leave until her delivery and she is entitled to have the prescribed full-pay maternity leave and one month non-pay leave after this leave.
The financial aid for work-related injuries have been extended from 30 to 60 days, in addition to the treatment cost plus 75 percent of the salary up to a maximum period of one year depending upon the medical condition, Al-Humaidan added.
In March this year, the Council of Ministers had approved major amendments to the Labor Law. The Cabinet granted the ministry powers to take appropriate measures to improve the performance of the employment market and regulate the workforce in line with the Labor Law rules.

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