The Council of Ministers has passed a new law that protects the rights of domestic workers as well as their employers.
The law allows them to enjoy nine-hour free time daily, a weekly day-off, one month paid vacation after every two years and medical leave.
“The law aims at regulating relationship between domestic help and their employers while explaining their rights and duties and punishment for violators of contract terms,” said Labor Minister Adel Fakeih.
The employer will have the right to put the worker in probation for not more than three months.
“This will help the employer understand whether the worker can do the job and how he/she behaves,” Fakeih said. The worker should respect the teachings of Islam and the Kingdom’s rules and regulations and carry out his duties perfectly, the law said.
They should obey the employer and his family members and protect their property and should not harm children or elderly members and preserve family secrets.
“The worker will not have the right to reject a work or leave the job without any genuine reason,” the law insisted. They should pay the salary at the end of every month without delay, provide suitable accommodation and end-of-service benefits after four years.
If the employer violates the contract, he will be fined SR2,000 and banned from recruitment for a year.
For second-time violators, the fine will increase to SR5,000. They will also be banned from recruiting for three years. Third-time violators will face a life-time recruitment ban and a fine of SR10,000.
Errant workers will be fined SR2,000 and prevented from working in the Kingdom. They will have to pay for journey back home.
“This is a very important law that would solve many domestic help-related issues” said Dr. Mohammed Badahdah, assistant secretary-general of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth.
Islam rejects mistreatment of domestic workers, he said.
“Our Prophet has taught us that we should not ask servants to do something beyond their capacity and we should be merciful to them. We should pay them more than what is mentioned in the contract and give them from our Zakat and Sadaqat. If we consider them like a member of family, they will reciprocate by doing their duties in a better way.”