Understanding and Handling Salary Delays in Saudi Arabia
Among the various challenges expatriates may encounter while working in Saudi Arabia, delayed salaries can be a common issue. This can be particularly stressful as it disrupts the financial planning and wellbeing of the individuals affected. Understanding your rights and knowing the available course of action in such situations can be immensely beneficial.
Understanding the Pay Cycle in Saudi Arabia
According to the Wage Protection System in Saudi Arabia, employers are obligated to disburse salaries to their employees by the 10th of the following month. This is known as the Saudi Salary Date. Hence, any delay beyond this stipulated timeframe is considered a breach of this rule.
Implications for Employers Delaying Salaries
The Saudi Arabian government takes salary delays very seriously, penalizing employers for such breaches. If an employer fails to meet the payroll through the Wage Protection System by the 10th of each month, they are liable to pay a hefty fine of SAR 3,000 per employee. Moreover, if the delay persists for two consecutive months, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has the authority to suspend the online services available to the employer.
Strategies for Managing Salary Delays
As an expatriate facing a salary delay, you can adopt the following strategies based on the duration of the delay:
- If the delay is for 1 month, it’s advisable to exercise patience and wait for your employer to resolve the issue.
- If the salary is delayed for 2 months consecutively, consider initiating your job search for alternative opportunities.
- If the delay extends to 3 months, under Saudi law, you are permitted to transfer your Iqama (residence permit) without your employer’s approval.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance where your salary has been delayed by more than three months, here’s what you should do:
- Begin the process of transferring your job through Qiwa, an online platform in Saudi Arabia designed to aid in this process.
- Once the transfer is complete, you should lodge a case with the Saudi Labor Court to legally pursue your pending salary and end-of-service benefits.
- Remember to retain proof of your work attendance during this period. This could be in electronic format or hard copy, and it will be necessary for validating your claim in court that you worked during the period for which you have not been paid.
The right to timely payment is fundamental for every employee. Being armed with this information can help you navigate these challenging situations effectively and protect your rights as a worker in Saudi Arabia.
More from KSAexpats.com: