Saudi Arabia updates the rules and procedures pertaining to absenteeism from work in the private sector

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) has announced updates to the rules and procedures related to employees’ absence from work in private sector establishments. This new update includes the cancellation of reporting expats’ absenteeism from work; replacing it with an enhanced mechanism that aims to preserve the rights of workers and employers and increase the attractiveness of the Saudi labor market.

The new update allows employers to submit their requests to terminate the contractual relationship with an expatriate due to un-reported absenteeism, whereby the worker’s data would automatically be removed from the establishment’s records and his/her status would become “discontinued from work”. In this case, the employer would not bear responsibility towards the worker, and the worker may transfer to another employer, or issue a final exit from the Kingdom within (60) days. In case neither measure are taken after (60) days, his/her status would become “Absent from Work” in the Ministry’s – and all relevant – systems/ records.

HRSD has clarified that expat workers with current reports of absence, prior to the announcement, can still transfer to a new employer provided their status is “absent from work”; and late work-permit fees on the worker’s file would automatically transfer to the new employer upon their approval. HRSD also highlighted that the transfer must be completed within (15) days from the date of the Ministry’s approval, otherwise, the status will remain “absent from work”.

This update is part of HRSD’s continuous efforts towards ensuring the equal protection of workers’ and employers’ rights, and an extension to its numerous endeavors towards improving the Saudi labor market. This also includes other initiatives such as the wage protection program, the Labor Reform Initiative (LRI), and the amicable settlement of labor disputes.

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