- Download our Moving to Saudi Arabia Guide (PDF)
Expats in Saudi Arabia can hire domestic workers for a variety of tasks such as cooking, cleaning, childcare and driving. The demand for domestic help has increased over the years due to the rising number of working parents. Expats can hire domestic workers in Saudi Arabia through licensed agencies, referrals from friends or by advertising in local newspapers. It is advisable to conduct thorough background checks and ask for references before hiring a domestic worker to ensure their reliability and trustworthiness.
Some downsides and challenges of hiring domestic help include possible language barriers, cultural differences and potential conflicts with the worker that can cause a strained working relationship. Hiring domestic help in Saudi Arabia can be a convenient and valuable addition to an expat's lifestyle, but it is crucial to take the necessary precautions and legal requirements into consideration to ensure a positive and fair working relationship. By doing so, expats can enjoy the benefits of having domestic help while also being responsible and respectful employers.
Finding a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia
There are two main ways to find a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia: using an agency or employing directly. Expats who decide to use an agency should be aware that there are multiple companies that provide domestic services, and each company operates differently. On the other hand, employing directly can be time-consuming and may require the use of classified websites or word-of-mouth networks. Regardless of the method, it is important to proceed with caution and carefully consider the salary or fee and working conditions one is willing to offer.
Using an agency
Using an agency to find domestic help in Saudi Arabia can be a convenient option for expats. That said, it is essential to be cautious and do thorough research before hiring an agency. It is advisable to use only licensed and reputable agencies to avoid any legal or financial issues. Expats can check the Saudi Arabian government's official website to verify the agency's licence and registration.
When expats reach out to a prospective agency, they'll be asked about their expectations, requirements and budget. They should also inquire about the agency's policies regarding replacements, refunds and complaints. It is critical to understand that agencies may have different processes and fees depending on the type of service and the domestic worker's nationality.
If expats opt for a full-time live-in domestic worker, they should be aware of the sponsorship system in Saudi Arabia. The sponsor is the legal employer and is responsible for providing the domestic worker with accommodation, food, medical insurance and a salary per the country's labour laws. The sponsor must also cover the worker's sponsorship and visa fees, which can be costly. Some agencies may offer to sponsor the domestic worker on behalf of the employer.
Expats should also be prepared for cultural differences and potential language barriers when hiring a domestic worker through an agency. Some agencies may provide domestic workers from specific countries, such as the Philippines or India, who may have different customs and communication styles than the employer. It is important to have realistic expectations and patience while building a working relationship with both the agency and the worker.
Employing domestic help directly is possible, but it can be a challenging process. Expats may need to post a listing for a position and sift through numerous CVs or use classified websites to find the right candidate. Word-of-mouth networks can also be useful in finding a trustworthy domestic worker.
Additionally, it is crucial to conduct thorough background checks and ask for references to ensure the domestic worker's reliability and trustworthiness. Moreover, expats can ask for a written letter of recommendation from previous employers to confirm the worker's qualifications and experience. Employers may also need to provide training and guidance to the domestic worker regarding their expectations and cultural norms. Employing directly can be a more cost-effective option than using an agency, but it requires more effort and responsibility on the employer's part.
Expats can conduct a background check on a domestic worker by searching for any criminal records or legal issues through the Saudi Arabian government's Ministry of Interior website. The website provides a service called Absher which allows users to access various government services, including checking the worker's residency and visa status.
Salaries for domestic help in Saudi Arabia
The minimum salary for domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, as set by the Ministry of Labour, varies depending on the type of work and the worker's nationality. For example, the minimum monthly salary for a full-time live-in maid from Indonesia and the Philippines is SAR 1,500, while for a Ugandan maid, it is SAR 900. It is essential to ensure that a fair wage is negotiated for the domestic worker, taking into account their experience, skills and workload.
Employers should also be aware of the legal obligations related to salaries and benefits for domestic workers in Saudi Arabia. The employer must pay the worker's salary on time, provide medical insurance and cover any necessary expenses related to their work. The domestic worker is also entitled to a weekly day off and annual as well as sick leave as per the country's labour laws. Employers should ensure that the terms and conditions of the employment are clearly stated in the contract and agreed upon by both parties before hiring the domestic worker.
Precautions and legal conditions in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian government has specific laws regarding the employment of domestic workers. Expats who wish to employ a domestic worker must be residents of Saudi Arabia and meet certain minimum salary requirements.
It's important to note that only certain nationalities are eligible for domestic worker visas, so it is essential to check with local authorities to see if the worker one wishes to hire is eligible. The employer must obtain a valid work visa for the domestic worker and ensure that they have suitable accommodation, medical insurance and a fair salary as per the country's labour laws. The employer is also responsible for the domestic worker's safety and well-being and must provide a clear contract that outlines the terms and conditions of the employment.
It is essential to treat domestic workers with respect and dignity and to respect their cultural background and values. Some compromises may need to be made by both parties. If a domestic worker comes from another country, expats and domestic workers may find themselves negotiating between three different cultural settings. Sensitivity and clear communication are necessary.
By its nature, live-in employment necessitates clear boundaries for both parties. One of these boundaries is personal time: Saudi labour law allows for a minimum of one day off a week and nine hours of uninterrupted rest time per day.
It is important to ensure that the contract is fair and transparent. It should clearly outline the worker's duties, working hours and salary, and the employer should ensure that the employee is aware of all of their rights under Saudi law. Any disagreements or issues that arise should be dealt with in a professional and respectful manner.
►See Accommodation in Saudi Arabia for more information about housing in the Kingdom
Are you an expat living in Saudi Arabia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Saudi Arabia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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