Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) announced today that it has started implementing the 15th phase of the Wage Protection System (WPS) as of 1 May, 2020.
Companies with 11 or more workers are now obligated to register with WPS. Saudi launched the first phase of WPS in August 2013, covering private sector businesses with 3,000 employees or more. Subsequent phases of the WPS have been gradually implemented to cover smaller businesses.
Employers who fail to register with WPS will be fined SR10,000(2,662 USD) as per the latest amendments to the Labour Law regulations, and employers who fail to pay wages on time or in full are fined SR3,000 (798 USD) for every affected worker.
Employers must submit workers’ payroll information to the MHRSD, specifying the net wage transferred to the worker’s bank account, including basic wages and information on allowances and deductions. According to Professor Ray Jureidini, “what is not clear is whether the Ministry keeps the information on wage levels and allowances according to the employment contract that can be independently verified with the information provided through the WPS”.
Migrant-Rights.org has previously reported on how WPS failed to raise the alarm or protect workers for non-payment violations in several Gulf countries.
The MHRSD has also recently enacted a new regulation which allows employers affected by the COVID-19 crisis to unilaterally cut workers hours and wages by up to 40% during the next six months.