Business Line - 24/4/2006
Saudi Arabia has brought in a new labour law with a host of mandatory obligations for employers, including signing a written contract, a move widely hailed by expatriate workers as towards ending their exploitation.
The new law, which came into effect yesterday, replaces a 37-year-old legislation. It, however, does not contain any provision to prevent abuse of housemaids.
The law obliges the employer to bear all expenses from the time of recruitment through the worker's tenure for payment of residence and work permit fees and their renewal. In case of death of an employee, the employer is also liable to pay for repatriati on of the body, the Saudi Labour Minister, Mr Gazi Al Gosaibi said in a press statement.
He said that more categories of employees, including domestic workers, would be covered under the new law, which regulates the relationship between the employer and employee in a transparent manner.
Under the new legislation it is mandatory for an employer to sign a written contract with a foreign worker with period of the contract mentioned. The employees are entitled to sick leave up to 30 days with full pay, followed by 60 days of leave with thre e-quarter pay.
The new law also raises the annual leave from 15 to 21 days, which could be increased up to 30 days for those who have remained with the same employer for five years.
The retirement age is 60 for men and 55 for women workers and those above this age can continue service if both parties agreed, he said. Expatriates have welcomed the new law.