(with 1970 procedural regulations appended)
The English version of this document is for guidance only.
The Arabic version is the governing text.
This Law shall be called the Labor Law.
The provisions of this Law shall apply to:
By way of exception, the provision of this Law shall not apply to:
In the absence of a special provision to the contrary, the provisions of Chapter Eight and Articles 164, 165, and 166 shall not apply to the following:
The Minister of Labor may consider all or any of the following establishments to be governed by the provisions of the Articles and Chapters mentioned in Article 4 of this Law:
It is illegal to violate the provisions of this Law or to prejudice any other rights acquired by the workmen by virtue of any other regulations or concession agreements, Labor contract or any other agreements, or by virtue of any arbitration award or Royal Order, or in accordance with generally accepted practice or with what has been habitually granted by the employer to his workmen in a given area or areas.
Any stipulation in a contract or agreement whereby the workman waives any right established in his favor by virtue of the provisions of this Law shall be null and void, even if such stipulation was made prior to the effective date hereof.
In this Law, the following terms and expressions shall have the meanings set forth below:
(a) Regular vacations or leaves authorized by the employer.
(b) Where, for legitimate excuse, the workman absents himself from work for intermittent periods totaling not more than thirty days a year.
(c) Where the workman stops working for a reason imputable to or emanating from the employer, with which the workman had nothing to do.
If the employer entrusts to a natural or juristic person one of his principal operations or any part thereof, the latter shall give his workmen all the rights and privileges granted by the employer to his own workmen, and both shall be jointly and severally responsible for such rights and privileges.
Both the employer and the workman shall know all the contents of the Labor Law so that each shall know where he stands and be aware of his rights and obligations. In addition, there shall be displayed at a conspicuous place in every establishment employing twenty or more workmen a set of rules, duly approved by the Ministry of Labor, for the purpose of regulating the work in the establishment, and containing the following:
The employer or responsible manager shall keep at the place of work records and rosters showing the full name of each workman as well as his nationality, trade or occupation, his date of birth or age, place of residence, family status, date of commencement of his service, his wages and wage supplements, any changes in the workman's status, and any penalties imposed on him and the relative investigation reports, his regular work hours and overtime, the vacations and benefits in cash or in kind that he receives, the date of termination of his services and the reasons for such termination, the indemnities received by the workman on account of such termination, and such other necessary information as relate to the implementation of the provisions of this Law, particularly those pertaining to the employment of juveniles and women and to labor injuries and occupational diseases.
In the event there are several partners or managers in any establishment, one of them, who is a resident of the place of work, shall be appointed to represent the employer and be responsible for any violation of the provisions of this Law. The appropriate Labor Office shall be informed of the name of such partner or manager who shall remain responsible before the said Labor Office until it is informed of his replacement by another notice.
In the event of any complaint against any of the officials who are charged with the enforcement of the provisions of this Law in connection with the discharge of their official duties, such complaint shall be investigated by a Commission of three, one of whom shall be selected by the Minister of Labor, while the second shall be from the Personnel Bureau and the third an administrative investigator designated by the Grievance Board or by any judicial authority replacing it.
If the investigation reveals that complaint is false or vexatious, the complainant shall, by a decision of the Commission, be punished with a fine of not less than five hundred riyals and not more than twenty thousand riyals. If the complaint against the official if found to be valid, the Commission shall submit a report to this effect to the Minister of Labor so that he may issue his instructions for the necessary action to be taken in accordance with the statutory provisions in force.
No complaint shall be heard by any Commission in respect of violations of the provisions of this Law or of the rules, decisions or orders issued in accordance therewith, after the lapse of twelve months from the date of the occurrence of such violation. No case or claim relating to any of the rights provided for in this Law shall be heard after the lapse of twelve months from the date of termination of the contract. Also, no action or claim relating to any of the rights provided for in any previous regulations shall be heard after the lapse of one full year from the effective date of this Law.
Actions arising under the provisions of this Law shall be heard expeditiously. The Commission may order the losing party to pay the other party all or part of the expenses incurred by the latter.
The amounts to which the workman or his dependents are entitled under the provisions of this Law shall be considered first-class privileged debts, and for the recovery thereof the workman or his heirs shall have a priority right over all the employer's property. In the event of the employer's bankruptcy or the liquidation of his establishment, such amounts shall be recorded as privileged debts, and the workman shall be paid immediately a portion equivalent to one month's pay before payment of any other costs, including judicial bankruptcy or liquidation costs.
Arabic is the language to be used in all resolutions, records, registers, files, statements, and other documents provided for in this Law, or in any decision or order issued in application of the provisions hereof, as well as in any instructions or circulars issued by the employer to his workmen. In the event a foreign language is used by the employer along with the Arabic language, the Arabic text shall prevail at all times.
All periods and time-limits provided for in this Law shall be computed on the basis of the Hijrah Calendar, unless another calendar is agreed upon.
Before the commencement of work in any establishment, the employer shall furnish the appropriate Labor Office with the following information in writing:
Information concerning establishments existing at the time this Law is put into effect shall be sent within three months from the effective date hereof.
In the event the responsible manager is replaced, the employer shall notify the appropriate Labor Office in writing of the name of the new manager within seven days from the latter's assumption of his duties. If no one has been appointed as a responsible manager of the establishment, or if the person so appointed has not assumed his duties, then the person who actually performs the manager's duties or the employer himself shall be regarded as a responsible manager of the establishment.
Within the meaning of this Law, a month shall be reckoned as thirty days unless otherwise provided.
Physicians for the issuance of the necessary certificates shall be selected by consultation between the Minister of Labor and the Minister of Health.
It is illegal for any workman or employer to do any act that may constitute an abuse of any of the provisions of this Law, or of the decisions and rules issued in execution of the provisions hereof. It is also illegal for any workman or employer to do any act that may bring pressure to bear on the freedom of the other or on the freedom of other workmen or employers with the object of realizing any interest or supporting any point of view which they adopt and which is inconsistent with the freedom of work and the jurisdiction of the authorities concerned with the settlement of disputes.
Any offender shall be liable to the penalties provided for in this Law and in the general regulations.
Labor inspection shall be undertaken by competent inspectors to be designated by decision of the Minister of Labor.
They shall have the powers and functions provided for in this Law.
Labor inspection shall have the following functions :
Labor inspectors, shall, before assuming their official duties, take the oath before the Minister of Labor to discharge their duties honestly and faithfully and not to disclose the secret of any industrial invention or any other secret which may come to their knowledge by reason of their offices, even after they cease to have any connection with such offices. Labor inspectors shall carry identification cards to be provided them by the Ministry.
Employers and their agents shall extend to inspectors and other officials charged with Labor inspection the necessary facilities to enable them to perform their duties, and shall furnish them with any information they may require, respond to any summons to appear before them, and send a delegate to appear on their behalf if they are so required.
Labor inspectors shall have the right to :
They may in particular:
First: Question the employer or the workmen separately or in the presence of witnesses about any matter relating to the enforcement of the provisions of the Law.
Second: Examine all books, records, and documents required to be kept under the provisions o the Labor Law and of the decisions issued hereunder, and obtain any copies or extracts therefrom.
Third: Take a sample or samples of the materials used or handled in the industrial and other operations that are subject to inspection, if such materials are believed to have a harmful effect on the health or safety of the workmen, for the purpose of having such samples analyzed in Government laboratories and determining the extent of such effect, duly notifying the employer or his representative of their action.
Fourth: Ascertain that notices and communications required to be posted under the Law are duly posted.
The Ministry of Labor shall prepare the appropriate Rules of implementation for the control and regulation of the inspection operations provided for in the preceding Article, and such Rules shall be issued by a decision of the Council of Ministers.
The person performing the inspection shall notify the employer or his representative of his presence, unless he believes that the matter for which he is making the inspection calls for a different course of action.
A labor inspector shall have the right to order employers or their agents to make modifications in the operating rules pertaining to the plant and equipment used in their establishment within the periods prescribed by the inspector in order to insure the proper application of the provision pertaining to the health and safety of the workmen. Where there is an imminent danger threatening the workmen's health and safety, the inspector may require the immediate adoption of whatever measures he may deem necessary to forestall such danger.
Labor inspectors shall treat any complaints reaching them in respect of any deficiency in the plant or any violation of the provisions of the Law as strictly confidential and shall not disclose to the employer or his representative the existence of such complaints.
If, in the course of his inspection, the inspector finds that a contravention of the Labor law or of any decisions issued hereunder has been committed, he shall prepare a report in duplicate setting forth the contravention and shall submit such report to the Director of the Labor Office for necessary action against the offender.
The Director and inspectors of the Labor Office may, where necessary, call upon competent administrative authorities and members of the police force to provide whatever assistance may be required.
If the inspection relates to the health aspects of the work, the inspector shall, with the approval of the Director of the Labor Office, take with him a competent physician from the Ministry of Labor or the Ministry of Health.
The Chief of Labor Inspection in the area shall prepare a monthly report on the labor inspection activities, the aspects of inspection, the establishments inspected and the number and nature of the violations committed. He shall also prepare an annual report on inspection in the area and the results and effects thereof, in which he shall include his comments and suggestions. A copy of both the monthly and the annual reports shall be sent to the Ministry of Labor.
The Deputy Ministry for Labor shall prepare an annual report on inspection in the Kingdom. Such report shall include all matters relating to the Ministry's control over the enforcement of the provisions of the Labor Law, particularly the following matters:
The Ministry shall prepare forms for contravention reports, inspection records, notices and warnings, and shall lay down the necessary rules for the safekeeping and use of such forms and for their distribution to all the Labor offices in the various areas.
In addition to the general requirements for the employment of Government employers, the Labor inspectors must satisfy the following requirements:
The training of labor inspectors and controllers shall be conducted in special training courses to be organized by the Ministry. Attention shall be given in those courses to training the inspectors in the following matters in particular:
and the Vocational Rehabilitation of the Disabled
First: Employment Offices
The Ministry shall set up employment offices in locations suitable for both the employers and workmen. Such offices shall be under the supervision of the Ministry and shall offer their services free of charge for the purpose of assisting workmen in finding suitable jobs and assisting employers in finding suitable workmen.
The employment offices shall collect and analyze the necessary information on the position and development of the labor market so that such information may be available to the various public and private organizations concerned with economic and social planning. Such offices shall perform the following duties:
No person shall act as an employment agent or as a contractor to supply workmen unless he is permitted to do so by the Deputy Minister for Labor and is in possession of an annual license which shall be renewable at the discretion of the competent authority which shall control his activity. No such license shall be granted where there is an employment office belonging to the Ministry or to an organization approved by the Ministry operating in the area and capable of acting as an intermediary for the supply of the necessary labor.
The employment agent or the labor supplier may not demand or accept from any workman, whether before or after his employment under a labor contract, any money or material reward in return for the workman's employment, or to collect from the workman any costs except as may be decided and approved by the competent authorities. The workmen supplied by the employment agent or labor contractor (labor supplier) shall, immediately upon their engagement by the employer, be regarded as employed by the latter an shall have all rights and privileges of the original workmen of the establishment. The relationship between them and the employer shall be direct without any intervention by the labor supplier whose mission and relation with the workmen shall end immediately upon presenting them to the employer.
The employer shall inform the appropriate Labor Office, by registered letter or by any other means proving receipt, of vacancies and newly-created jobs of any kind, and shall give the kind and location of each job, the wage allotted to it, the job requirements and the date fixed for filling it. Such notice shall be given within a period not exceeding ten days from the date on which the job becomes vacant or is created.
The employer shall send to the appropriate Labor Office during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah of each year the following annual statements:
Without prejudice to the conditions laid down in concession and other agreements and orders regarding training, education, and scholarships, every employer employing one hundred or more workmen shall train in technical jobs a number of his Saudi workmen that is not less than 5% of the total number of his workmen, in accordance with a training program to be prepared by the Ministry of Labor.
The Minister of Labor shall, by decision, prescribe the rules and conditions to be observed in such training and shall indicate the minimum and maximum training periods, and set forth the curricula of the theoretical and practical training, the method of testing and the certificates to be granted in this regard.
The number of the Saudi workmen of the employer shall not be less than 75% of the total number of his workmen, and their wages shall not be less than 51% of the total wages of his workmen.
If technical skills or educational qualifications are not available, the Minister of Labor may reduce this ratio temporarily.
The Minister of Labor may, if necessary, require employers in certain industries or occupations or in certain areas not to hire workmen except through the employment offices, subject to the terms and conditions he shall prescribe in a decision.
A decision of the Minister shall determine the rules and procedures governing the conduct of business at the employment offices, and shall prescribe the forms of the Records, notices and other documents handled by such offices, as well as job classification schedules in accordance with the international job classifications, which shall serve as basis for the organization of employment operations.
Second: Employment of Foreigners
Work is a right of the Saudi national and may not be exercised by other except after fulfillment of the conditions provided for in this Chapter. Saudi workmen are equal in their right to work in all areas of the Kingdom without discrimination.
No foreigners shall be brought into the country to work nor may he be permitted to work with companies and private establishments except after the approval of the Minister of Labor and after securing a work permit in accordance with the form, procedures, and rules to be prescribed by the Minister of Labor. Such permit shall not be granted except after fulfillment of the following conditions:
The term "work" as used in this Article shall mean any industrial, commercial, agricultural, financial, or other work, and any service, including domestic service.
In accordance with the conditions, rules and periods to be determined by the Minister of Labor, every employer shall vocationally prepare his Saudi workmen to replace non-Saudis, by improving their standard in technical jobs performed by non-Saudis so that the Saudi workman may be able to replace the non-Saudi. The employer shall keep a register in which he shall record the names of the Saudi workmen who have replaced non-Saudis.
Third: Vocational Rehabilitation of the Disabled
A disabled person is any person whose capacity to perform and maintain a suitable job has actually diminished as a result of a physical or mental infirmity.
"Vocational rehabilitation" shall mean the services provided to the disabled personal to enable him to regain his capacity to perform his original work or any other work which suits his condition.
The Minister of Labor shall, in agreement with the Ministries and establishments concerned, set up and organize the institutions necessary to provide vocational training services. Such institutions shall give the disabled workman who has been rehabilitated a certificate confirming such rehabilitation. The information to be contained in such certificate shall be determined by a decision of the Minister of Labor.
Any employer who employs 50 or more workmen, and the nature of whose work allows him to employ disabled workmen who have been vocationally rehabilitated, shall employ such workmen to the extent of 2% of the total number of his workmen, whether through nomination by the employment offices or otherwise. He shall send to the said office a statement indicating the jobs and positions occupied by disabled workmen who have been vocationally rehabilitated and the pay rate of each such workman.
If a workman sustains an injury resulting in disablement which does not prevent him from performing a job other than his previous job, the employer in whose service the injury occurred shall assign such workman to a suitable job at the salary fixed for such job, within 1% of his total work force, and without prejudice to the workman's right to compensation for his injury.
Fourth: Contracts of Apprenticeship
A contract of apprenticeship is a contract whereby an employer agrees to employ a young workman in order to train him methodically in a certain trade or craft within a specified period during which the apprentice is bound to work under the employer's supervision.
The employer who employs apprentices shall be at least 21 years old, of good reputation, and he, or the person in charge of training, shall possess adequate qualifications and experience in the subject trade or craft. The establishment itself shall satisfy the appropriate technical requirements to provide the apprentices with the necessary facilities for training in the particular trade or craft.
The apprenticeship contract shall be made in writing, and shall indicate the period of apprenticeship, its successive stages and the wages due at each stage. Wages at the last stage shall not be less than the minimum wages paid for similar work, and shall under no circumstances be determined on a piecework or production basis.
The apprenticeship contract shall be drawn up in at least three copies, one copy of which shall be retained by each party, and the third copy shall be deposited at the appropriate Labor Office within one week from the date of signing the contract. The official indisputable date of the contract shall be held to be the date on which this copy is deposited and recorded at the Labor Office. The contract shall be signed by the employer or his official representative, and by the apprentice or his legal or testamentary Guardian where the apprentice is under 16 years of age. Apprenticeship contracts shall be exempt from registration fees and stamp duty.
The Minister of Labor may submit a proposal for determining those trades and crafts in which apprentices shall be accepted, the period of apprenticeship in each trade or craft, the theoretical and practical programs to be followed, the conditions governing examinations and the certificate to be given at the end of the apprenticeship period, provided that such proposal shall be approved by the President of the Council of Ministers.
The Minister of Labor shall have the right in all cases to designate one expert or more in the trade or craft in which apprenticeship is to be organized, in order to avail himself of the expert's report in such organization.
Before commencing his apprenticeship, the apprentice shall submit to a medical examination for the purpose of determining his state of health and his ability to perform the work of the trade wherein he wishes to be apprenticed. Where the trade requires special physical and health conditions, the medical report shall indicate that the candidate fulfills such special conditions, whether they be physical or psychological.
The employer shall treat the apprentice as a good father, guiding him and supervising his conduct. He shall advise his legal or testamentary guardian of the serious errors committed by the apprentice, as well as of his moral and temperamental aberrations. The employer shall notify such guardian without delay in case of the apprentice's illness or absence and in any other cases requiring the guardian's quick intervention. He shall not use the apprentice except in the operations and services relating to his practicing and learning the trade or craft.
The employer shall instruct the apprentice gradually and fully in the principles and techniques of the trade or craft stipulated in the apprenticeship contract, and shall at the end of his apprenticeship, deliver to him a document acknowledging completion of the apprenticeship.
The apprentice shall observe his master's instructions and advice with due respect and politeness, and he shall cooperate with him and assist him within the limits of his capacity and ability.
The employer may cancel the apprenticeship contract if he feels that the apprentice does not have the aptitude or ability to usefully complete his apprenticeship. The apprentice and his legal guardian shall also have this right. The party wishing to cancel the contract shall so notify the other at least one week before the date of cessation of the work.
In the establishments, industries and trades to be specified by decisions of the Minister or Labor, the latter may oblige such establishments, industries and trades to accept:
The Council of Ministers may, by decision, impose a fiscal charge called "the Vocational Training tax" on the industrial and trade establishments whose occupational fields and number of workmen shall be determined in such decision on the recommendation of the Minister of Labor. The proceeds of the vocational training tax shall be appropriated to finance the existing training establishments and their institutes, and to create new establishments an institutes where necessary.
The employer shall have the right either to retain the apprentice in his service after completion of his apprenticeship period, or not to employ him. Similarly, the apprentice shall have the right either to remain in the employer's service after completion of the apprenticeship period, or to leave such service, unless otherwise provided in the apprenticeship contract.