A Guide on Statutory leaves in the Saudi Arabia (KSA)
HLB KSA Payroll Team
Leave policy is not just about granting leaves; it is about enlightening employees about their entitlements and enabling them to avail of leaves as per their convenience. Like any other country, the workers of KSA are also entitled to official leaves, holidays, and vacations. In this article, we have covered in detail about the leaves in KSA along with sample calculations.
Under Saudi Labor Law, employees will be granted with the following leaves.
- Annual leave
- Sick leave
- Maternity leave
- Special leaves (Hajj Leave)
- Compassionate leave
- Marriage leave
- Paternity leave
- Examination leave
- Iddah leave
- Official Public holidays
According to Article 109 of the KSA Labor law, a worker is entitled to the following days of Annual leave:
- 21 days of annual leave, if an employee service period is less than 5 years.
- 30 days of annual leave, if service tenure with the employer is more than 5 years.
Frequently asked questions
Is annual leave in the KSA based on calendar days?
As per general practice, employers award employees annual leave based on the calendar days.
Can a worker postpone his annual leaves?
A worker can postpone his annual leave to the following year with the consent of the employer.
Can the employer determine when the employee leave will be taken?
As per Article 110, employers are entitled to determine when employees can take their leaves. The employer has the right to postpone Annual leave to a maximum of 90 days after the year-end. However, If work conditions require postponement, the worker’s consent must be obtained in writing. Such postponement shall not exceed end of the following year from when the leave is due.
Can an employee claim payment for unutilized leaves during termination of contract?
Article 111 of Saudi labor law, allows employees to claim their accrued leave balance if he/ she leaves the employment without utilizing those leaves.
Can an employee work for another employer during their annual leave?
No, a worker shall not work for another employer while on annual or sick leave provided for in Article 118. Where his employer establishes that he has done so, he may deprive him of his wage for the duration of the leave or recover any wages previously paid to him.
What happens when an employee takes unauthorized leave?
Employers may terminate the employee’s contract without compensation in the event the employee takes unauthorized leave for either: More than 30 non-consecutive days a year or for more than 15 consecutive days within a year. In the first case, a prior written warning must be delivered to the employee after 20 days of non-consecutive absence and in the second case the warning must be delivered after 10 days of consecutive absence.
Can an employer terminate an employee who is on leave?
No, employers cannot terminate the services of employees who are on annual leave.
Sick Leave policy in the KSA
Sick leave is granted for 120 days per annum (the year begins from the first date of the sick leave) at the following rate. The sick leave period can either be continuous or intermittent.
- The first 30 days: entitled for Full Pay (100%)
- The following 60 days: entitled for three-quarters of the wage (75%)
- And the following 30 days without pay.
As stated in Article 53, an employee on probation is eligible for Sick leave after completing 90 days of probation period.
See the following sample calculation simplifying the salary of an employee taking sick leaves.
Frequently asked questions
Can an employee who is on probation take paid sick leave?
No, as per Article 53, a worker is not entitled to any paid sick leave during the probationary period.
Can an employer terminate an employee on sick leave?
According to article 82, an employer cannot terminate an employee on sick leave as provided in the law. The worker may request that his sick leave be combined with his annual leave.
What is the difference between sick leave unpaid and unpaid leave?
The days taken after the 90 days are regarded as sick leave unpaid and are different from unpaid leave. The days falling under this type of leave are included when determining the service period of an employee. This leave does NOT impact the calculation of gratuity, outstanding vacation, air ticket payout or any other payroll accrual due to the employee.
Maternity Leave policy in KSA
Female workers shall be entitled to fully paid maternity leave for a period of 10 weeks to be divided at the female worker’s discretion. Such period may start four weeks prior to the expected date of delivery. A woman may not, under any circumstances, work during the six weeks immediately following delivery. She shall be entitled to extend the leave for an additional two months as unpaid leave. In the event of giving birth to a sick child or a child with special needs whose health condition requires a constant companion, a female worker shall be entitled to a one-month leave with full pay starting at the end of the maternity leave and she shall be entitled to extend the leave for an additional month as unpaid leave.
Frequently asked questions concerning maternity leave
Can an employee take extra leaves after exhaustion of her maternity leave?
Yes, an employee on maternity leave can combine such with her outstanding annual leave if she so wishes. This period can be granted to a maximum period of 180 days if the female employee so wishes.
Is the period taken for unpaid maternity leave included while determining the period of service?
Yes, this period taken as unpaid maternity leave is included while determining the period of service and is counted while calculating gratuity at the end of service.
Is a female employee entitled to any extra breaks post-delivery?
When a female resumes back to work, she shall be entitled to additional breaks not exceeding one hour a day to nurse her young baby. These breaks are treated as part of her working hours and not part of the normal break and can be during the first year after the delivery.
Can an employer terminate a female employee who is on maternity leave?
An employer may not terminate a female employee who is on maternity leave. Similarly, an employer cannot terminate her during illness resulting from pregnancy or delivery.
Muslim employees are entitled to take Hajj leave. This leave is granted for a period of not more than fifteen days or less than ten days, including the Eid Al Adha holidays. This leave should only be granted once during the entire service period if the employee has not performed Hajj before. To be eligible for this leave, the worker must have spent at least two consecutive years of service with the employer.
Are employees on Hajj leave paid?
Hajj leave is granted as a paid leave.
A male worker is entitled for three days paid leave after the delivery of his newborn baby.
According to Article 113 of Saudi law, Employees who are getting married are entitled to five days paid leave.
In the case of the death of a first-degree or second-degree relative, an employee is granted five days of paid leave.
An employee who is enrolled in an educational institution is eligible for paid leaves to sit for an examination in unrepeated years. The number of days granted shall depend on the actual number of days taken to sit for the examinations.
A Muslim female worker whose husband has died shall be entitled to four months and 10 days paid leave as the date of death to mourn her deceased husband. A non-Muslim female worker whose husband has died shall be entitled to fifteen-day paid leave as the date of death to mourn her deceased husband.
KSA Public Holidays
These are the public holidays in KSA.
- Eid Al Fitr:
- id Al Adha; From 10 to 12 of Dhu Al Hijjah (Feast of Sacrifice)
- National Day: 23rd September
*Please note, Islamic holidays are determined according to moon sightings.
The hectic routine of employees makes leaves a significant part of their lives. They are helpful in promoting good physical and mental health at the workplace and at the same time also contribute positively towards the work-life balance of employees. The leave policies will be different for all countries and it is mandatory to know the policy of the country where you work.
For information on the payroll process in KSA click on this link
Payroll Service in KSA
The process of payroll is a little complicated and time-consuming; hence it is always recommended to outsource your company’s payroll function. Outsourcing payroll will ensure the assistance of a team of trained payroll professionals and it frees up the time of the organization, helping them focus on other projects that add value to their business.
One should be extra vigilant while selecting their payroll provider, as payroll data is highly sensitive, and one should opt for a provider that can ensure high levels of data security.
As a leading payroll outsourcing company, HLB HAMT can help solve your payroll complexities through customized strategies. We take care of our client’s entire payroll cycle that includes the preparation of payroll reports, processing salary payments with WPS compliance, accrual management including Gratuity, and pension funds, an online portal for accessing payslips, and many more. Our leadership team spends the necessary hours in every project, ensuring our clients get refined consulting services to take your business forward.
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, HLB HAMT will not accept any liability arising out of errors or omissions. Please note that this blog is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues/topics covered. It is subjected to change and not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion.
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