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Saudi Arabia: Employee rights

Updating author: Sara Khoja, Clyde & Co LLP
Original author: Al Tamimi & Company

See the legal services provided by the author of XpertHR International > Saudi Arabia, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • The normal working time of adult employees must not exceed 48 hours per week or eight hours per day. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees must not work for more than five consecutive hours without a rest/prayer/meal break of at least 30 minutes (in practice, employers generally grant a break of one hour). (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Employees' statutory weekly rest day must, in principle, be granted on the holy day of Friday. (See Friday work)
  • There are various rules regarding statutory annual leave entitlement for employees. (See Holiday and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding employees and employees on maternity leave have various rights. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Employees with at least two years' continuous service with the employer are entitled to paid leave of 10 to 15 days (including the Eid al-Adha holiday) to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. (See Pilgrimage leave)
  • Employees are entitled to five days' paid leave on the occasion of their marriage, and in the event of the death of an "ascendant" (that is, a parent, grandparent and so on) or descendant (that is, a child, grandchild and so on). (See Other leave)
  • Part-time employment contracts must be in writing and must be concluded for a fixed term, renewable once. (See Part-time workers)
  • Fixed-term contracts are permitted and are compulsory in the case of foreign nationals and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia nationals who are part-time employees or hourly paid workers. (See Fixed-term workers and Hourly paid workers)
  • Employers may implement permanent remote working arrangements subject to specific rules. (See Remote workers)
  • Specific authorisation for the engagement of agency workers must be sought via the relevant public authorities prior to engagement. (See Temporary agency workers)
  • If the ownership of a firm is transferred to a new owner, or its legal form changes through merger, spin-off or otherwise, the employment contracts of the employees concerned remain in force (that is, the contracts are transferred automatically and with no change in their terms to the new employer) and their service is deemed to be continuous from the start of their employment with the old employer. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • In the event of the employer's bankruptcy or liquidation, amounts owed to employees by the employer are deemed to be "first-rate" privileged debts. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • Statute specifies the disciplinary penalties that an employer may impose on employees. (See Disciplinary procedures)
  • Employers must draw up work organisation regulations that set workplace rules in areas such as disciplinary procedures and penalties, pay, working time, annual leave and retirement. (See Work organisation regulations)
  • Full enforcement of the Personal Data Protection Law commences on 14 September 2024 but organisations will need to take a number of steps in preparation. (See Data protection)