Saudi Arabia allows domestic workers to change jobs without employer’s consent

Saudi Arabia will allow domestic workers to change jobs without their employer’s consent, in a bid to give workers more freedom, the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry (HRSD) said on Wednesday.

Workers in Saudi Arabia will have the right to transfer their services if their original employer transfers them to another employer or company without the consent of the worker, if the employer terminates the employment contract during the probationary period , if there is a delay in the payment of wages for three consecutive months, non-collection of the domestic worker at his port of arrival and if there is an unresolved official complaint of the domestic worker against the employer for ill-treatment and violation of human rights.

The government is already moving to transfer work permits without the employer’s consent in 10 cases where employees have not received their wages and been given potentially dangerous tasks.

Dr. Awwad Alawwad, Chairman of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, said the reforms are an example of new policies that offer millions of foreign workers in the kingdom increased professional mobility, freedom of movement, and reinforced labor rights.

“This decision is part of the ministry’s constant quest to evolve its decisions and legislation in order to make the Saudi labor market attractive and aligned with the best international markets,” HRSD said.

The Saudis welcomed the news.

“I have seen employers using home and personal business helpers, making them work overtime and not caring about their physical or mental health. I am really happy that domestic workers have the right to change jobs. jobs whenever they want and don’t feel stuck with one employer,” said Ayesha Sabie, a Saudi woman in Jeddah.

The new law aims to preserve the rights of employers, regulating the national labor market and hopes to improve the contractual relationship to help increase the efficiency and flexibility of recruitment.

“We suffered for many years from being under the sponsorship of a single employer and we were not allowed to change jobs because our iqama [resident permit] was under them. This is great news, now no one has to endure anyone’s suffering or abuse and can change jobs with dignity whenever they want,” said Mary Abdullah, a Filipino aide working in Jeddah. The National.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 1:42 p.m.