Last updated on: July 6th, 2021
Employment in Saudi Arabia is regulated by the Labor Law, the Social Insurance Law, and provisions of Shari’a (Islamic law).
Hours & Pay Regulations
An employee is initially entitled to 21 days of paid annual leave, which increases to 30 days after five consecutive years with one employer. Employers may set the dates of employees’ leave based on work requirements and must notify the employee of the date of leave at least 30 days in advance of the leave.
An employee should avail of the annual leave in the year it is due. Employees may not waive the leave or receive cash in lieu of vacation during their period of service. The employer may set the dates of such leave according to work requirements or may grant them in rotation to ensure the smooth progress of work. The employer shall notify the employee of the date of the employee’s leave in-sufficient time of not less than thirty days.
An employer may postpone the employee’s leave for not more than 90 days after the end of the year it is due if required by work needs. If work conditions require a further extension, the employee’s consent must be obtained in writing. The postponement cannot extend beyond the end of the year following the year in which the leave becomes due to an employee.
Annual Leave after Termination of Employment
The employee is entitled to a wage for the accrued days of the leave if the employment is terminated without using such leave. This applies to work periods where the employees have not used the leave entitled to them. The employee will be entitled to be paid for the leave for the part of the year in proportion to the time the employee worked. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2015, arts. 109-111 (Arabic).
Effective April 2021, the minimum wage in Qatar is SAR 4000.
Mandatory Bonuses: Saudi Arabia does not mandate employers to provide bonus payments to employees, but it is customary to provide employees a 13th-month bonus on Eid al-Fitr.
An employee is entitled to 30 days of sick leave at full pay annually, an additional 60 days at 75 percent pay and following 30 days of unpaid leave during a single year, whether such leaves are continuous or intermittent. A single year for this purpose begins from the date of the first sick leave.
A domestic employee is also entitled to 30 days of sick leave as long as a medical report is provided certifying the need for leave. An employer may not terminate an employee’s services because of illness without first letting the employee exhaust sick leave. The employee may request that sick leave be combined with annual leave. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2015, art. 137 (Arabic).
A female employee is entitled to paid maternity leave for the 4 weeks immediately preceding the expected date of delivery and for 6 weeks after delivery. Female employees shall not work in the immediate 6 weeks post-delivery.
A female employee who gives birth to a sick or special needs child is entitled to an additional month of paid maternity leave and may extend that by an additional unpaid month up to a maximum of 18 weeks of paid and unpaid leave.
An employee who has taken paid maternity leave is not entitled to wages for the annual leave in the same year. If she has taken maternity leave at half of her wages, in such case, she will be entitled to half of the wages for annual leave in the same year.
An employer may not terminate the employment of a female employee or give her a warning while she is on maternity leave. An employer also may not terminate her employment for the duration of an illness resulting from pregnancy or delivery if such illness is established by a certified medical report and the period of her absence does not exceed 180 days.
When an employee returns to work following maternity leave, she is entitled, in addition to the rest periods granted to all employees, to a paid rest period or periods not exceeding in aggregate 1 hour per day for nursing her infant. Such periods are considered part of her working hours and the employee’s wage is not deducted for taking the break. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2015, arts. 151-156 (Arabic).
A father is entitled to 3 days of paid paternity leave for a child’s birth. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005 (Arabic).
Employees are entitled to 5 days of paid leave following the death of their parents or children. Female Muslim employees whose spouse dies are entitled to 4 months and 10 days of compassionate leave. Non-Muslim female employees receive 15 days of compassionate leave. Male employees whose spouse dies are entitled to 5 days of compassionate leave. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 113.
An employee, subject to the employer’s approval, may obtain leave without pay for a length of time agreed to by the two parties. The work contract will be considered suspended for any leave over 20 days unless both parties agree otherwise. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 116.
Short-term work-related disability leave gives an employee the right to fully paid leave for the 60 days, and three-quarters of the wages owed to him/her for the next ten (10) months of treatment and recovery. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 137 (Arabic).
An employee enrolled in an educational institution is entitled to paid leave to sit for an examination of an un-repeated year. However, for the examinations of a repeated year, the employee shall be entitled to unpaid leave to sit for the examinations. Days of leave shall be based on the actual number of examination days.
The employer may require the employee to submit documents in support of the leave application as well as proof of having taken the examination. The employee must apply for the leave at least 15 days ahead of the examination date. If it is proven that the employee did not take an examination, the employee shall be denied payment for the time. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 115.
An employee is entitled to paid leave of 10 to 15 days to perform Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca, including the Eid Al-Adha holiday. This paid leave may be granted only once during an employee’s service with one employer, after at least two consecutive years of work, and if the employee has not performed Hajj before. The employer may determine the number of employees who are given this leave annually in accordance with work needs. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 114.
An employee is entitled to 5 days’ paid leave for marriage. Labor Law, Royal Decree No. M/46, 2005, arts. 113.