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Thu 25 Jul 2013 09:52 AM

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Saudi launches wage protection scheme

Labour Ministry to monitor salaries paid to employees of large private firms and schools

Saudi launches wage protection scheme
construction workers, labour camp, labourers

Employees at large firms and some schools in Saudi Arabia will have their salaries protected under a government scheme to come into effect from October 1.

Private firms with at least 3,000 workers and all foreign private schools will be required to register details of employees’ wages according to their work contract with the Labour Ministry, which will monitor the data against actual salaries paid into workers’ bank accounts, Arab News reported.

The companies have until October 1 to send the initial data.

“The program aims at ensuring that all Saudi and expat workers at private firms received their salaries as per their contracts,” deputy Labour Minister Abdullah Abuthnain said.

“The move aims to streamline the kingdom’s labour market, removing discrepancies and creating a secure and stable atmosphere for workers.

“This will help reduce labour issues and increase workers’ productivity. It will also help us uncover fake firms, fight cover-up businesses and get rid of excess labour in the market.”

Saudi Arabia is cracking down on illegal workers in the kingdom.

There is an estimated 12m expatriates in Saudi Arabia, with a large proportion working illegally.

However, an amnesty that started in April and is due to finish on November 3 is likely to see that number significantly decline as expats either rectify their status or leave the country.

Nearly 4m workers had corrected their status as at July 6, according to the Labour Ministry.

Of those, about 1.12m had corrected their listed profession, while 1.6m had obtained legal work visas.

There was mixed reaction to the wage protection program among private employers.

National Committee for International Schools at the Council of Saudi Chambers member Ziyad Al-Rahmah told Arab News the wage protection programme could place extra burden on private firms.

Other businesses said it would make it easier for employees to gain bank loans.

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