The Council of Ministers in Saudi Arabia has decided to apply a levy on house workers, with employers having to pay SAR9600 per worker annually if they exceed four. For expatriate employers, the same fee will be applied for each worker in excess of two.
The aim of this levy is to help cover the costs associated with providing social services to house workers. These include healthcare, education and other benefits.
This new policy is expected to affect around two million domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, most of whom are from Asia and Africa. It’s not yet clear how it will be implemented or when it will come into effect.
House workers in Saudi Arabia have long been vulnerable to abuse and exploitation, so it’s hoped that this new levy will help to improve their working conditions. It will also provide some much-needed funds to support social services for these workers.
However, there are concerns that the levy could lead to even more exploitation, as employers may try to reduce costs by cutting back on workers’ wages and benefits. There are also fears that some workers may be deported if they can’t afford to pay the levy.
Every Saudi employer who hires a fifth domestic worker will have to pay an annual fee while the expatriate employer will pay the same fee in the event of hiring a third worker.
Only time will tell how this new policy plays out and whether it will be successful in improving the working conditions of house workers in Saudi Arabia. In the meantime, we can only hope that these workers are treated fairly and with respect.
The Saudi government has announced that the fee for domestic workers will come into force in two phases. The first phase will be effective from May 22, 2022 for new recruits. The second phase will come into force from May 11, 2023.