Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vacation entitlements

I have been repeatedly mentioning in this blog about the importance of reading and understanding your contract before planning to work in Saudi Arabia. Your contract IS the final document which would stand by you in case of a dispute between you and your employer.

I would now like to mention something about your entitlements for annual vacation. There are a few contracting companies in Saudi Arabia, which take the expatriates' ignorance of law as granted. Not all of them are this way, but as in any place, there are bad apples in every basket.

Specifically talking about your vacation entitlements, you must know that you are entitled for an annual vacation of minimum of 21 days each year for the first five years. Some of the contracting companies allow the employees to go on vacation only once in 2 years. But this does not relieve them of their obligation towards the law. If you are planning to sign such a contract, ensure that your entitlement is a minimum of 21 days each year.

If you continue to stay in this company for more than 5 years, your entitlement becomes 30 days for each year, from the 6th year onwards. An interesting thing to note here is that, even if your employer has forced you to sign a contract of 21 days vacation after the first 5 years, the law clearly states that your entitlement is 30 days, so this will supersede what you have signed in your contract. In other words, when you go on final exit from the kingdom, your employer is supposed to pay you for the remaining 9 days per year for each year of service after the first 5 years.

Working in Saudi Arabia is a challenge as well as a rewarding experience, but you must know your rights and obligations clearly before signing any contract.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do these vacation rules apply to expatriates hired by a company outside of KSA, and posted to KSA as a condition of employment? EXAMPLE: John Jones is hired in Canada by a British Corporation. A condition of his employment is a 1-year assignment to KSA.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It does not apply in this case, because you would be considered as "on deputation" or "on temporary assignment". You must negotiate well with your company to get the best of your vacation entitlements for your one year stay in Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expatguru,

please gide, if some one go on vacation and didn't want to come back on the same company what is the possibilty & how can he come back again saudi arabia with another sponser.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

If someone goes on vacation with an intention not to return to the same company, he can come back only 2 years after the date of departure from the kingdom to work with anyone else.

Micper said...

Guruji..!
I completed almost 5 yrs in the present company. Out of which starting 8 months under other's sponsorship then took transfer.
I signed the contract only once, after joining.
While joining they orally mentioned that there will be no End of Service benefits. Similarly they play mimicry with medical, transportation, vacation pay etc.
I was unaware of the rules. Shall I request for new contract agreement?
Waiting for your suggestions. Thanks in advance.

Expatguru said...

Micper,

What is happening is totally illegal. The labor law clearly states that it is the sponsor's responsibility to provide you End of Service Benefits, transport to and from work or equivalent money instead, medical insurance and paid vacation. You are entitled to these even if they are not mentioned in your contract, because they are all fundamental rights given by the labor law. In case you face any problem, gently tell them that you are entitled to these benefits. If the response is not favorable, you are free to go to the labor court.

Anonymous said...

Expatguru, does the 21 (or 30) days vacation entitlement include weekends? It does in many countries.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It excludes the weekends. It means 21 "working days".

Anonymous said...

dear expatguru
it is really nice to hear about your blog.you are doing an excellent job.
i need some information i m working in a school and my employer have given me appointment letter which i assum as my contract as no other contract copy is given to me.
i am facing a prob i am working for last one and a half year with this employer and in my appointment letter leave and family tickets is after every two years this year i went back to pakistan for less than 20 days for some emergency but he has deducted my salary by saying that our contract have leave after two year. if u can please guide me about the situation tht is it legaley right.
thanks waiting for your comment .

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Even if there is no written contract, it is deemed to be a contract. Your employer is legally right. But if the emergency you mention involves death of either a spouse or parent or child you are entitled for 3 days paid leave. If the emergency involves childbirth, you are entitled for 1 day paid leave. This is as per Article 113 of the labor law. So you may ask your employer to refund you the amount deducted for the above applicable days by providing supporting documents to prove the the above.

Anonymous said...

dear expatguru
thanks a lot for ur valuable information about my prob and i am now satisfied and hope we wil have peace of mind while working. once again thanks

Anonymous said...

Was no. of days of vacation in previous vacation should be added to your next vacation due? what i mean is I joined our company on October 5, 2009 and have my vacation for 70 days from October 5 to Dec. 15, 2011. My company said my vacation due would be on Dec. 15, 2013 which i thought it supposed on Oct. 5, 2013. Is that right? Did our company made an unlawful act with the saudi labor law regarding computation of vacation due?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.

scorpio said...

Dear Sir,
What will be the status of his paid leave then if he goes for leave in a 2 year contract situation.i.e,he will be entitiled to get 42 days vacation , but the pay will be for 2 months ?