The Saudi labor market for a reform leap with an initiative...

The Saudi labor market for a reform leap with an initiative to improve the contractual relationship

Legal visions confirm that the approach will allow to attract talent, stimulate competencies, and raise the productivity of foreign workers


Thursday – 12 Rabi` Al-Awal 1442 AH – October 29, 2020 AD Issue No. [
15311]

The Saudi labor market awaits a qualitative initiative in the contractual relationship of the highest international practices (Middle East)

Grandmother: Saeed Al-Abyad

The concerned authorities in Saudi Arabia are moving to bring about a qualitative shift in the contractual relationship between economic establishments in their various specialties, and expatriate workers, within a series of programs and mechanisms to be implemented in Saudi Arabia during the next stage, which conclude with the liberalization of the Saudi labor market from the employer sponsorship system to the contractual relationship system. The Saudi labor market and workers are awaiting the date of the approval of the “initiative to improve the contractual relationship”, the draft of which was disclosed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in 3 stages, including “building a preliminary vision for the initiative, evaluating the initial development, and the final vision” of this initiative that relies on reducing the rate of labor cases. In the last 3 years, it reached 153,000 cases, an increase of 167 percent, and solving the dilemma of late wages delivery to workers, which recorded 1.2 million delays. The initiative is based on 3 main packages, including “the legislative package, the ministerial decision for the initiative to improve the contractual relationship, and it includes policies and controls to benefit from the initiative’s services, indicative models, preventing work for a competitor, employment contracts”, and the technical package that is being developed through the “Absher” platform, Exit, return, and final exit, in addition to the Qiwa platform, to enable job mobility, as the services on these platforms are expected to be completed before the end of 2020. While the media package includes awareness of the initiative’s services and preserving the rights of employers.
The initiative to improve contractual relations «one of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative» aims to improve the contractual relations between the worker and the enterprise according to the work contract, while taking advantage of the best international practices, while increasing the competitiveness of the Saudi worker, improving the local work environment, increasing the productivity of workers in the labor market, and ensuring the rights of parties. Contractual relationship. Improving Saudi Arabia’s ranking in the International Competitiveness Index comes at the forefront of the goals, while reducing recruitment costs resulting from external recruitment, especially as wrong practices have caused a decline in Saudi Arabia’s rating in international reports.
The initiative relies on international practices and improving internal dealings, as the local market, according to the initiative, is one of the least flexible countries due to the positions of the employer and the violation of the international method that is based on a contract between the worker and the owner of the facility, in addition to activating the policies based on the research study that recommended the importance of carrying out reforms On the current system to increase the flexibility of the labor market.
Among the most prominent of what was mentioned in the draft initiative is to allow an expatriate to transfer to another employer without requiring the approval of the current employer, after twelve months have passed since his first employment contract in the Kingdom after verifying the eligibility conditions for the expatriate worker and the establishment, with a notification to the current employer of the request to transfer the service 90 days before, and paying the agreed penalty clause, while allowing the worker to request his exit and return visa by raising the exit and return request during the validity of the work contract, and the final exit during the validity of the work contract or after the end of the contract automatically in the Absher system.
The initiative was preceded by many meetings of government agencies and the relevant authorities, which emphasized the importance of reforms that will have a positive impact on reducing absconding and absenteeism reports, reducing labor issues, with the growth of GDP, and attracting distinguished global competencies to the economy. This increases competitiveness with the Saudi employee, in addition to improving the mental image of the Kingdom internationally.
Here, the legal advisor, Khaled Al-Mahmadi, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the study presented a set of controls that benefit expatriate workers, and that contribute significantly to reducing labor cases that had a negative impact on job performance, as well as reducing absconding reports for various reasons, in addition to Reducing arbitrary measures in the final exit of labor. Al-Mahmadi added that the final exit is one of the advantages of the study, which is reflected in improving working conditions for expatriates, enabling mobility for them, and what was stated in the initiative helps to attract talents and competencies, and raise productivity for workers in the labor market, indicating that there is an important factor in this aspect related to By reducing recruitment costs resulting from external recruitment.

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