In Saudi Arabia, domestic workers are those who provide domestic service directly or indirectly to the employer and his/her family members. These include household service workers, private drivers, gardeners, house security guards, and other similar jobs.
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If you are planning to hire a domestic worker anytime soon, then it’s important to know about your rights and obligations as an employer. Keep on reading to know more about them!
Employers of Domestic Workers: Their Rights & Obligations
The Saudi government, through its Ministry of Labor, currently runs the MUSANED Domestic Labor Program, an online system that addresses domestic labor issues. On the hiring of domestic workers, the program adheres to these rights and obligations of employers:
A. Employer’s Rights
#1 – Probationary Period for Domestic Worker
The employer and domestic worker may agree on a probationary period not exceeding 90 days. During this period, the employer will observe the professional competence and personal conduct of the employer. Unless the domestic worker will be placed in a different profession, he/she should not be put under probation more than once with the same employer.
#2 – Written Contract
The employer and domestic worker should sign a written contract, which contains: the type of work to be performed, amount of wage to be paid, rights and obligations of both parties, duration of probationary period, and duration of contract. The contract shall be issued in three copies — one each for the employer, domestic worker, and the Private Recruitment Office.
#3 – Termination of Contract During Probationary Period
If the domestic worker is proven to be unfit for the job, the employer may terminate the contract during the probationary period.
#4 – Termination of Contract due to Legitimate/Illegitimate Reason
If the contract is terminated by the employer for an illegitimate reason, or by the domestic worker for a legitimate reason — the employer must shoulder the ticket for repatriating the domestic worker to his/her country of origin.
#5 – Termination of Contract upon Death of Either Party
The contract shall expire upon the death of the employer or the domestic worker. If the employer’s family would still like to keep the domestic worker, they must change/correct the name of the employer with the Labor Office.
#6 – When a Domestic Worker Suddenly Quits (Absconds)
If a domestic worker suddenly quits and escapes (absconds) from work, the following steps should be taken:
- The employer informs the nearest police station about the worker’s escape.
- The police station notifies the Passport Department for necessary actions.
- The police station notifies the Labor Office, which will check if either the employer or domestic worker has filed a lawsuit against each other.
B. Employer’s Obligations
#1 – Work to be Performed
The employer is obligated:
- Not to assign the domestic laborer with work that is not agreed upon;
- Not to assign any work that is risky to the domestic worker’s health and safety, or work that negatively affects his/her dignity; and
- Not to sublet the domestic worker.
#2 – Worker’s Wage
The employer is obligated to pay the agreed wage at the end of every Hijri month, unless both parties agree otherwise — in writing. Wages should be paid in cash or check, unless the domestic worker prefers to have the wage deposited to his/her bank account. In any case, all transactions should be documented and put into writing.
#3 – Wage Deduction
No deductions should be made from the domestic worker’s wage, except in the following cases:
- As payment for something that he/she has intentionally or negligently damaged;
- As down payment for an amount that her/she obtained from the employer; or
- As part of a court judgment or administrative decision issued against him/her.
#4 – Housing
The employer is obligated to provide suitable housing for the domestic worker.
DISCLAIMER: The above guide is presented for information-sharing purposes only. To know more about the rights and obligations of employers of domestic workers, please read this brochure on the MUSANED Domestic Labor Program, as posted on the website of the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.