Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s labour authorities have outlined rules for employers regarding the actions to be taken if a domestic worker goes missing.
A government platform responsible for domestic labour affairs in the kingdom has said that in the event of a house worker’s absence or escape before an iqama or residency permit is issued, the employer must file an “absenteeism” report with the General Directorate of Passports.
However, if the absence or escape occurs after an iqama has been issued, a related report should be filed via the employer’s account on the Absher platform linked to the Interior Ministry.
These guidelines come weeks before the start of Ramadan when the demand for domestic workers usually increases in the kingdom. The authorities have recently sought to regulate the domestic labour market.
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 relationship between the employer and the worker.
The ministry has emphasised the necessity of conducting contracts via 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 regulations specify, among other things, that all dates in the domestic worker’s contract are calculated according to the Gregorian calendar unless stated otherwise in the contract, and invalidate any terms contradicting these rules unless they are more beneficial to the worker.
The regulations also stress that dues owed to the worker or their heirs are considered first-degree debts.
The contract should have a fixed duration, and if not, it will be considered renewable for one year from the date the worker starts 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 rests.
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.”