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.