SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi ministry updates rules for notifying worker absence

April 19, 2022



Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH —
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has issued a circular with regard to the controls and regulations to register a notification of worker’s absence from job as well as to cancel the notification.

The controls include conditions for registering any notification of absence from work after the expiry of the work permit, in addition to a number of controls to be taken into account when canceling this notification.

Conditions for notification



The circular clarified that the notification shall be registered in the ministry’s electronic portal via the employer’s account, and not through any branches of the ministry, unless the work permit is expired and the conditions are fulfilled.

The conditions include the notification is to be registered with the employer’s request duly attested electronically by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The employer’s request should include one of the cases stipulated in the controls that must be taken into account by registering absenteeism notifications after the expiry of the work permit.

The conditions also include the examination of the employer’s request by the competent department with covering aspects such as the number of workers registered with the firm, the expiry date of the work permit for the worker whose absence notification is to be registered, a report about the visit of an inspector at the facility, in addition to a statement whether there is any complaint from the worker existing against the employer.

Registration after expiration of work permit



The ministry’s circular specified the cases of registering the notification after the expiry of the work permit. This includes the existence of a court ruling or reconciliation before one of the judicial authorities between the employer and the worker. The conciliation includes obligating the worker to transfer his services to another employer within a specific period of time that ended but he did not commit to the transfer of service before the expiry of his work permit and residency permit (iqama), and his data remained on the employer’s facility, causing him harm. This is with the condition that the employer shall submit the request to the competent office within a period not exceeding six months from the date of expiry of the work permit.

The cases of registering the notification after the expiry of the work permit also required the existence of a court ruling or reconciliation obligating the employer to issue a final exit visa to the foreign worker.

Another case was a systemic obstacle for the issuance of the visa, and it was proved that the employer summoned the worker to finish his procedures but he did not comply with this. Subsequently, the employer was harmed by keeping his record on his register of workers. In such a case, the employer shall submit the notification to the competent labor office within a period not exceeding six months from the date of expiry of the work permit.

The cases of registering the notification after the expiry of the work permit also include the presence of notification about the absence of worker from a job as evident from his registry of work due to proven maliciousness on the part of the worker and subsequently canceling the notification in a malicious manner. This is with the consent of the worker that he would transfer his services to another employer within 15 days from the date of canceling the notification or would seek a final exit but he failed to do so and the employer was harmed due to his presence on his registry of workers.

On such an occasion, the employer shall submit his request within a period not exceeding one month from the date of canceling the absence notification.

Rules for canceling notification



The ministry’s circular specifies the regulations to be taken into account while canceling notification about absence from work. These include the presence of a technical problem that prevented the employer from canceling the notification of absence within the stipulated period of time. A proof of the existence of the problem must be attached indicating the date of the attempt to cancel the notification. In such situations, a request shall be made within a period not exceeding one month from the expiry date of the 20-day period, which is the allowed time for the employer to cancel the notification through his account after submission of the notification.

In the event that the employer wishes to cancel the notification of absence for one of his workers after the 20-day deadline, it is required that the submitted application shall be attested by the Chamber of Commerce and that the status of the facility is not “non-existent.”

Also, the employer shall pledge in his request that he would pay the financial compensation incurred for the renewal of iqama of the concerned foreign worker within a period of 10 days from the date of cancellation. There should not also be any malicious request submitted by the concerned expatriate pending with the competent labor office. The worker, whose absence notification is to be canceled, is not arrested and put in a deportation center. The firm should not have the existence of expired work permits for any one of its workers due to non-payment of the required fee. Finally, the worker whose absence is notified should not have been notified more than once in the past two years.

Mechanism for examining a request



The ministry’s mechanism to examine a request to cancel notification includes several steps. These include submission of a request by the employer himself or a legitimate agency, representing him, or through an authorization duly attested by the Chamber of Commerce. There is a condition that the foreign worker, whose absence notification is set for cancellation, shall not be caught and put in the deportation center. The request for cancellation of the notification will be studied by the competent department.



Maliciousness notification



The concerned authorities will receive requests from foreign workers to prove maliciousness on the part of the employer through the notification registered against them, provided that the worker submits the request to prove maliciousness electronically through the individuals’ portal within a period of 12 months.

In the event of proving maliciousness of the notification by the concerned inspection department, an acknowledgment will be taken from the expatriate to transfer his services to another employer within 15 days from the date of canceling such notifications and if he wishes to leave the Kingdom on final exit, his request will be processed under the usual mechanism in this regard.

The ministry specified that the notification will be considered malicious under certain specific cases. These include the expatriate providing evidence for his presence on the job on the day of filing the notification or after filing, or in the event he was enjoying an official vacation written evidence to that effect. The cases also include the presence of a lawsuit filed by the expatriate against the establishment, or if the notification is linked with unlawful termination of the labor contract.

The cases of malicious notification also include the occurrence of notification of absence after the official end of the labor contract and the employer’s non-approval of the transfer of service that was previously agreed upon. The cases also include filing of notification of absence within a month after the end of the pending labor case between the expatriate and the employer with the issuance of the final verdict. Finally, the employer files a notification of absence from the job after the expatriate was granted a final exit visa, and within 60 days the employer canceled it and registered the notification. In such a case, the notification will be considered malicious if it was proven that the expatriate had not been delivered the travel ticket during the 60-day period.


April 19, 2022
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