The Saudi Arabian government has announced new labour regulations to protect the workers’ rights by bringing the employers under strict rules including financial fines.
Around 1.5 million Bangladeshi migrants are currently working in the Kingdom. If the new regulations are implemented, they will also enjoy the benefits.
According to the new regulations, the employers who keep workers’ passports and fail to pay their salaries will face fine Saudi Riyal (SR) SR 2,000, reported the Saudi Gazette quoting the Saudi labour ministry yesterday.
There are allegations that many employers hold on to workers’ passports and force them to work outside contractual terms. They sack workers who protest and send them home without paying.
Now, the employers will be fined SR 15,000 for forcing the worker to perform tasks not specified in the contract or for making them bear expenses the employer is liable to pay.
The rules also prohibit companies from delaying salary payments, forcing extra unpaid working hours or making workers work during official weekends and holidays.
Violations also include forcing workers to work in the heat or in rough weather without precautions. Ignoring safety and health standards will mean a fine of SR 25,000.
The new regulations will fine employers SR 5,000 for not giving them copies of contracts to the workers.
Companies will be fined SR 50,000 for selling visas to expatriates and SR 45,000 for employing an expatriate without a license.
The Saudi labour ministry will also fine unlicensed recruitment offices between SR 10,000 and SR 20,000 or also for not registering the services they provide.
In the meantime, Summary courts in Jeddah and Makkah have charged 24 people with human trafficking last year and each of them was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, 1,000 lashes and fines ranging from SR 20,000 to SR100,000.