RIYADH — The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) will soon implement a new bylaw regulating the work mechanism, rights and duties of domestic workers and the like in the Kingdom.
According to the bylaw, domestic workers are entitled to weekly day for rest; 30-day annual leave, 30-day sick leave and end of service gratuity.
It also prohibits hiring domestic workers under the age of 21 years and engaging them in work for those other than their employers or doing those works that are not specified in the labor contract or residency permit (iqama).
The new regulations include all the details of the labor contract and the rules for its cancelation, as well as the rights of the worker and the employer, and the obligations of each towards the other.
The articles of the bylaw stipulate regulating the relationship between the domestic worker and the employer by means of a written work contract and documenting it on the ministry’s online platform.
The contract shall include the conditions agreed upon by the two parties in a manner that does not conflict with the provisions of the bylaw specifying the type of work that the domestic worker is obligated to perform, the wage that the employer is obligated to pay to the domestic worker, and the rights and obligations of both the parties.
The contract shall include the duration of the probationary period, the duration of the contract and the methodology for its extension and the organization of additional working hours.
The contract shall also include ensuring the rights legally in the work contract with taking into account of the instructions regulating it. It shall also contain address of the two parties, their e-mail, contact numbers and the data of a relative.
The probation of the worker shall not exceed 90 days during which the employer has the right to verify the competence of the worker.
The employer and the domestic worker may terminate the contract by their own volition during the probation period without any responsibility on them. It is not permissible to put the domestic worker on probation more than once under the same employer.
The domestic work contract ends in the event that the two parties agree to terminate it or the work contract is terminated for a legitimate reason from the part of either the domestic worker or the employer or the death of one of the parties.
Dos and don’ts
The new regulations prohibit employing a domestic worker under the age of 21 years. The employer shall not assign a domestic worker to work for others or work other than the profession for which he/she was recruited as recorded in the work contract and iqama.
The domestic worker is obligated, among other things, to perform the agreed work, to follow the orders of the employer and members of his family related to the implementation of the agreed work, as well as to safeguard the property of the employer and his family members, and not to physically abuse or perform any violent act towards the employer and his family.
The worker’s duties included maintaining the secrets of the employer, family members, and people in the home, which he learns during or because of work, and not divulging these secrets to others, and not refusing to work or leaving the service without a legitimate reason.
The worker should also not work for his own account or for others or work in a profession other than what is written in the work contract and iqama, as well as not affect the dignity of the employer and family members, and not interfere in their affairs.
They should respect the Islamic religion, abide by the regulations that are in force in the Kingdom, and the customs of Saudi society and its traditions, and not to engage in any activity harmful to the family.
Rights of worker
The regulations stipulate that the domestic worker is entitled to a weekly day for rest according to what the two parties agreed upon in the contract.
It is not permissible to deduct any amount from the worker’s wages except in certain cases that include advance payment obtained from the employer or the costs of what the worker deliberately or negligently damaged. The deduction should not exceed half of the worker’s wages.
According to the bylaw, the domestic worker is entitled to a full month paid leave after serving two full years and the worker has the right to be compensated for it if he/she did not avail of it.
The domestic worker is also entitled to a maximum 30-day annual paid sick leave on the basis of a medical report proving the need for the leave, provided that the healthcare of the worker is in accordance with the regulations and instructions that are in force in the Kingdom.
Similarly, the domestic worker is entitled to an end-of-service gratuity worth a month’s wage, if the worker spent four consecutive years in the service of the employer.
The regulations stipulate that the employer is obligated not to allow the domestic worker to work for his/her own account or for others, or to work in a profession other than what is written in the work contract and iqama. He is also obligated to pay the domestic worker’s wages at the end of each month as agreed upon in the contract.
The employer is also obligated to pay the wage and its dues by transferring it into a special bank account of the worker, unless the domestic worker wants to transfer it to a specific bank account or transfer it according to one of the channels specified by the ministry. The employer shall also provide suitable housing for the domestic worker.
The regulations stressed that the employer should refrain from doing any act towards the domestic worker that includes servitude or discrimination based on color, sex, age, nationality or any other forms of discrimination, according to what is in force in the Kingdom and in accordance with the ratified agreements.
It is also not permissible for the employer to keep in his custody the domestic worker’s passport or any other private documents and identification papers. It is mandatory on the part of the employer to repatriate the body of the domestic worker in the event of death, unless the insurance policy stipulates otherwise.
It is obligatory for the employer to enable the worker to communicate with his/her family, embassy of country, the recruitment office and the competent authorities.
According to the new regulations, the employer is obliged to issue a final exit visa for the domestic worker upon the expiry of the contract in the event the worker does not wish to renew it.
It is also not permissible to assign the domestic worker any work that threatens his/her health, safety of body, or affects human dignity. It is also not allowed to hire the domestic worker or allowed to work on his/her own personal account.
The regulations noted that in the event that the domestic worker is absent from work, the employer is obliged to document a report of the worker’s absence with the competent authority, and the employer and the domestic worker who violate the provisions of this regulation shall be punished in accordance with the penalties contained in the rules regulating the settlement of disputes between domestic workers.
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