The social safety net that gives employees security for life
The Saudi social insurance system provides a safety net for all members of society, offering security for not only private-sector employees but also those on the public payroll.
Social security services are optional in terms of pensions for Saudi nationals who are self-employed or in partnership with others in commercial, industrial, agricultural or service activities. The same applies to artisans, and Saudis working abroad without being linked to a contractual relationship with an employer based in the Kingdom.
Men become entitled to claim their pension at 60 years old having stopped activities subject to the system, and when their contribution period has been at least 120 months.
A participant who has not reached the age of 60 and is no longer subject to this provision, can still draw down a retirement pension if they have been making contributions for at least 300 months.
Woman can receive a pension at 55 if they have been contributing for not less than 120 months.
In the event of injury at work, the law ensures that appropriate medical care will be provided in addition to a daily allowance if the individual is temporarily unable to return to work.
In the case of permanent or partial disability resulting from a workplace incident, the employee is entitled to the payment of their monthly wage, severance pay and a monthly income for their family members.
These allowances are granted on a temporary basis, subject to periodic examinations by the General Organization for Social Insurance during the first five years, after which time payments will become permanent.
The law also considers women’s social security and empowerment. The most important of these is to enable them to get their benefits when they leave work at any time, even if they do not match all the conditions of salary entitlement. In addition, they can claim a marriage bonus equivalent to 18 salary payments.
In the case of divorce or widowhood, women will be re-incorporated into the system so that they can benefit from a pension. A woman who has lost her husband, has the right to combine his pension as per the program and her own pension at the same time.
Ensuring employees are aware of their rights and legal duties helps prevent exploitation and false claims of Saudi citizenship.
• Dimah Talal Alsharif is a Saudi legal consultant, head of the health law department at the law firm of Majed Garoub and a member of the International Association of Lawyers. Twitter: @dimah_alsharif