Cairo: Mandatory insurance on contracts of new domestic workers in Saudi Arabia has gone into effect on Thursday, as part of regulating the labour market in the kingdom.
According to the Ministry of Human Resources, the service applies to the first two years of the domestic labour contracts.
Insurance will be optional for the employer after the two years of the contract.
The new service secures compensation for the domestic worker and the employer in certain cases.
Under the arrangement, the employer is entitled to compensation in the event of the employee’s absence, escape, death or incapacitation due to crippling diseases.
Rights of workers
Meanwhile, the service, conducted via a government platform, aims to preserve the domestic worker’s rights including compensation for complete or partial infirmity resulting from an accident, or in case of the employer’s failure to pay wages and other financial entitlements due to the employer’s death or incapability.
Saudi labour authorities have recently sought to regulate the domestic labour market in the kingdom.
To this end, the Ministry of Human Resources launched Musaned, a platform responsible for domestic labour, to help customers learn about their rights and duties, and related services including visa issuance, recruitment requests and the contractual relation between the employer and the worker.
The ministry has said it is necessary to conduct contracting via the Musaned, being the official recruitment platform.
Last October, Saudi Arabia unveiled new rules for employing domestic workers, setting the worker’s minimum age at 21 years as part of efforts to preserve contractual rights.
The new regulations, published in the kingdom’s Official Gazette, Umm Al Qura, note, among other things, that all dates in the domestic worker’s contract are calculated according to the Gregorian calendar unless the contract states otherwise, and invalidate any terms contradicting these rules unless they are more beneficial to the worker.
The regulations stress that the dues owed to the worker or his/her heirs are considered first-degree debts.
Contractual provisions between the employer and the worker are regulated according to a contract shaped by mandatory rules set by the ministry, with the Arabic text to be the authorised version and translated into the official language understood by the worker in his/her home country.
The contract should have a fixed duration, and if not, it will be considered renewable for one year from the date of the worker doing the job.
According to the new rules, the house worker’s daily working hours are set at 10 hours and the employee is entitled to weekly paid successive 24-hour rest.
The employer is prohibited from withholding the domestic worker’s passport, other personal documents or belongings.
Domestic workers in Saudi Arabia include housekeepers, drivers, housemaids, cleaners, cooks, guards, farmers, live-in nurses, tutors and nannies.