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Saudi Arabia

10-week paid maternity leave from next year

JEDDAH: New changes to the country’s labor laws coming into force next year include 10 weeks fully paid maternity leave for women, beginning a maximum of four weeks before the likely date of birth.

The expected date of delivery has to be determined by a certified medical practitioner or facility, a local publication reported recently. Women would also be allowed to extend their maternity leave for an extra month without pay.
If a woman gives birth to a sick child or one with special needs that requires constant monitoring, then she would have the right to have an extra one month fully paid, with the possibility of a further one-month extension without pay.
The amendments include 15 days’ fully paid leave for non-Muslim women who are widowed. A woman worker whose husband dies may not work for another employer during this 15-day period. The employer reserves the right to request documentation in these cases.
The Ministry of Labor said these amendments also take into account the needs of men. A man is given three days paternity leave. In addition, a man who loses his wife or family member, or is marrying, is entitled to five days off with pay.
Penalties for those failing to comply include a fine of up to SR100,000, closure of the establishment for up to 30 days, or permanent closure. Penalties would increase for repeated offenses, the ministry stated.

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