Labor and Employment

This section highlights the efforts carried out by Saudi Arabia’s government sectors and agencies to ensure that job opportunities are made available to both men and women in public and private sectors, while developing human resources and supporting individual businesses leading to the overall productivity of families. Here, you will come to learn about the labor laws and regulations in the Kingdom, employment in public and private sectors, how the Kingdom is supporting the private sector during the COVID-19 pandemic and the method of newly introduced remote working. Additionally, information on self-employment, protecting the rights of workers in the Kingdom, occupational safety and health in the work environment, programs and initiatives for supporting enterprises, training programs, women empowerment, supporting retirees and job seekers and finally the current rates of unemployment, female employees, SME’s contribution to GDP and funding SME’s.

Labor laws and regulations in the Kingdom

"The Kingdom facilitates work fields for everyone capable of working, and legislates regulations that protect the worker and the employer." Article (28) of the Basic Law of Governance
"Work is a citizen's right, and it is not permissible for others to practice it except after fulfilling the conditions specified in the work system. So, Citizens are equal in the right to work without discrimination based on sex, disability, age, or any other form of discrimination, whether during the performance of work, while hiring, or when announcing about it. "  Article (3) of the Labor Law

Work System

Issued by Royal Decree No. (M/51) dated 23/08/1426 AH - lastly amended by Royal Decree No. (M/5) dated 01/07/1442 AH - and the decision by the Council of Ministers No. 219 dated 22/08/1426 AH, has included regulations related to the following topics: Regulating employment processes, employment of non-Saudis, training and qualifying, labor relations, work requirements and conditions, part-time work, prevention of work risks and prevention of major accidents and work injuries, health and social services, employment of women, employment of minors, maritime work contract, and work in mines quarries, labor inspections, labor dispute settlement bodies, penalties, in addition to concluded regulations.".

To view more on Work System Click here.

Employment strategy

According to an integrated methodological scientific basis and a clear vision, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has prepared a "Recruitment Strategy" to be a reference framework for addressing workforce and employment issues in the Kingdom. Achieving the desired goals will be within 25 years distributed in three stages: the short term, the medium term, and the long term. The strategy is based on a vision represented in "providing adequate job opportunities in terms of numbers and wages that lead to full employment of Saudi human resources and creating a competitive advantage for the national economy."

To view more on Employment strategy Click here.

Procedural guide for the prevention of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace

This guide was issued to ensure workers' and employees' safety in the public and private sectors in the Kingdom. It is to help in limiting the spread of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19). Employers and workers in all sectors must follow the guidelines as well as the instructions of the official authorities to avoid infections.

Employment in the Public Sector

The Kingdom improved the quality of services provided to employees by implementing new regulations for human resources in Civil Service, launching national human resources management platform, Masar, to improve user experience, launching the “Iltezam” service, which enables 404 government entities to exchange job data electronically. Additionally, the Kingdom also launched “My Employment Data” platform to provide civil service employees with various services, aunching the “Tathalomat” service, which aims to increase the level of transparency between the government and citizens, launching the “Tarqiyat” service that helps government entities manage and govern the promotions process. Moreover, the Kingdom launched the Governmental Endorsement service, the Resume service, which enables employees build, update, and publish a resume with the aim of finding better job opportunities in other entities, and launching the “Transfer” service, which aims to raise the accuracy of information regarding employees nominated for transfer.

Employment in the government sector (Searching for work in the government sector)

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's public sector has enacted several initiatives to support, facilitate, and employ Saudi citizens to help fulfill both job market needs and the strategic goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.


Employment in the private sector

Employment in the private sector (Searching for work in the private sector)

  • Employment of people with disabilities in the private sector (Tawafuq Program): It is a program that is launched to support and empower people with disabilities who could work in private sector institutions.
  • The National Labor Gateway (Taqat): An online platform for the labor market in the Kingdom that brings together job seekers with employers. It allows the application, exchange of employment, and training services to be efficient and effective for the workforce's stability.
  • The service of: Taqat Registration for Employers.
  • The service of: Taqat Registration for Jobseekers
  • The service of: Registration Job Seekers at HADAF
  • Employment Support Initiative: An initiative that is launched to subsidize the wages of Saudi men and women in the private sector by 30% and up to 50% or a maximum of 3000 riyals.
  • Temporary work - direct contracting: a program that facilitates access to the workforce by enabling individuals wishing to work for establishments to register on the site of AJEER Program. It publishes the CVs of labor in the market for direct contracting. At the same time, establishments can benefit from job seekers by contracting based on specific requirements and submitting offers.
  • The service of direct contracting to provide employment services.
  • MARIN: it is a program that enables the Saudi job seeker and the employer to contract flexibly, and the wage for it is on an hourly basis (the lowest wage unit), without committing to any other benefits, such as paid vacations, end-of-service bonuses, and no trial period is required.
  • On-the-job training: it is a program for Saudi graduates from local and foreign universities to train them in government institutions and distinguished companies in the private sector.
  • Parallel Saudization: It helps establishments urgently improve Saudization rates until the facility finds the necessary Saudi workers.
  • QIWA Platform: it is a platform that is launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development for sustaining the empowerment and Saudization of business.
  • NITAQAT: it is one of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development initiatives to raise the rate of Saudization in the private sector. It classifies the private sector according to activities and the percentage rate of Saudization in each classification.


The Kingdom's Support for the Private Sector During the Corona Pandemic

“2020  was  an  extraordinary  year  for  the  Kingdom  of  Saudi  Arabia  by  all  standards.  Despite  the  great  challenges  associated  with  the  COVID-19  pandemic,  the  Kingdom  managed   to   become   a   leading   country   in   various   sectors   according   to   several   international reports. For instance, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia made an astounding progress  for  the  second  consecutive  year  in  the  Women,  Business,  and  the  Law  2021  report.  Further,  it  was  the  only  country  in  the  MENA  region  to  advance  in  the  World   Competitiveness   Yearbook,   to   be   ranked   8th   among   the   G20   countries.   These accomplishments come as a result of NTP initiatives to improve the business environment  which  has  led  to  more  than  555  reforms  in  the  commerce  regulations.  Consequently,  the  time  required  to  start  a  business  was  reduced  from  15  days  to  only 30minutes and the number of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) has increased to more than 626,000. Moving forward, the kingdom intends to continue developing the regulations related to the economy and development affairs, as well as achieving the objectives of Vision 2030. ”
HE Minister of CommerceMajid bin Abdulla Al-Kassabi

The Kingdom has taken several measures and initiatives designed during the Corona pandemic to contain the private sector's financial and economic repercussions. Various sectors have taken the initiative in response to these efforts. The Kingdom has allocated 17.3 billion riyals to support private sector enterprises and enable them to grow during the post-pandemic period. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has undertaken many initiatives to mitigate the impacts through preventive measures to preserve the rights of workers and employers, including:

  • Requiring the private sector to apply sick leave, exceptional leave, and home quarantine.
  • Issuing the decision of regulating the contractual relationship between employees and employers.
  • Temporarily suspending the procedures of domestic workers.
  • Restricting the practice of passenger transport activity service to Saudis.
  • Exempting small enterprises from paying the fees.
  • Launching an initiative to enable expatriates to return to their countries and allow the cancellation and refund of fees for workers' work visas.
  • Disabling the wage protection suspension during that period.
  • Disabling the temporary suspension of private sector establishments to correct the activity and disabling the suspension due to non-payment of the fines collected
  • Calculating Saudi employment in NITAQAT immediately for all establishments.
  • Stopping fines for the importing of labor and continuing the service for Al-Safwa customers around the clock.
  • Enabling of employee exchange through AJEER Program
  • Exempting of financial fines for expatriates whose residency is expired until June 30, 2020.
  • Extending or refunding exit and re-entry visas that were not used during the entry and exit ban period for 3 months.
  • Retroactive hiring support since the beginning of July 1, 2019 and new hires.
  • Adding Article (41) to the executive regulations of the work system.
  • Encouraging business owners to expedite identifying locations and details of labor housing belonging to their establishments through a rental network.
  • The Kingdom increased the numbe of SMEs in 2020 to more than 626,000.


Remote Working in the Kingdom

The digital transformation and the presence of a robust and advanced technical infrastructure in the Kingdom contributed to the appearance of remote working. The governmental and private sectors' success in implementing mechanisms and programs for remote work to face the obstacles that may stand in front of employees, such as the geographical dimension, mobility operations, and pandemics like Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Remote Working Program

It is an initiative that is launched by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. It aims to bridge the gap between employers and job seekers, who are prevented by several obstacles from obtaining the appropriate job opportunity. The program supports all members of society: (males - females - people with disabilities).


Self-employment in the Kingdom

In fulfillment of the Kingdom's 2030 vision, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched the Self-Employment Program; To empower national energies and support those looking for additional income opportunities and be self-employed. The program provides a document approved by the Ministry for specialists in several activities, and it enables them to find opportunities to work in their field of specialization independently. It gives them several advantages upon their issuance of the self-employment document.

To register on the freelance platform, click here.


Protecting the Rights of Workers in the Kingdom

Service Period Rights:

  • Wages
  • Working hours and rest periods
  • Vacations
  • Medical care

Termination Rights:

  • Indemnity
  • Leave work without notice

Wages Protection Program:

It is one of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development initiatives. It aims to monitor wage payments for all workers in private sector establishments (Saudis and Expatriates). Subsequently, It is easier to determine the level of establishments' commitment to pay wages on time on the agreed value.


To view more on Wages Protection Program Click here.

Occupational Safety and Health in the Work Environment

To achieve an environment that is attractive, professional, safe, and risk-free health. It is imperative to provide the necessary measures to achieve the safety of the environment and its workers and follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations proposed by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. And the employer must adhere to:

  • Prohibiting working in the sun during the noon hours
  • Controlling to protect against behavioral infringements in the work environment
  • Preventing work and accident risks
  • Enduring work injuries
  • Providing health and social services to the worker
  • Continuous development of the work environment

To view the guidance material, you can visit the Occupational Safety and Health page.

KAWADER Program for Occupational Safety and Health

Launching contract notarizing and digitalization

The Kingdom launched digitalized employment contracts to ensure the commitment of business owners to upload and update work contract details for private sector employees, both Saudis and non-Saudis, which generated the launch of the Electronic Wage Protection System that helps small and medium enterprises that do not have an administrative account at General Organization for Social Insurance, launching contract notarizing and digitalization services in integration with General Organization for Social Insurance, launching unified electronic contracts for recruiting domestic labor to guarantee all parties’ rights, and launching the Mudad platform to notarize contracts and protect wages.


The Kingdom launched the National Strategic Program for Occupational Safety and Health, whose main achievements included the Council of Ministers’ approval to ratify International Labor Organization Convention No.120 concerning hygiene in commerce and offices of 1949G, Council of Ministers’ Approval of the national occupational safety and health policy, approval of Occupational Safety and Health’s regulations, localization of the occupational safety and health profession, conducted the Occupational Safety and Health National Form in 2018 and 2020, training inspectors of occupational health and safety systems to improve compliance, launching Occupational Health and Safety platforms, which include laws, regulations, duties, electronic services, and latest statistics and reports, and launching the e-portal for self-assessment by enterprises.


Initiatives and Programs for Supporting Enterprises



Supporting Small to Medium Enterprises and Accelerators

  • MONSHA'AT: It focuses on supporting, developing, and caring for small to medium enterprises in the privet sector. According to with international best practices, it implements and supports the programs and projects of theses enterprices. It is to spread the culture and ideology of entrepreneurship, initiative, innovation, and diversification of enterprises' financial support sourcess.
  • Business Incubators and Accelerators Company: It establishes, operates, maintains, and manages business incubators and accelerators to provide entrepreneurship support, platforms, and project management services. Also, it is specialized in consulting and training services.
  • BADIR Incubator: It is one of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology programs. It was launched to support technology-based ventures and develop technology entrepreneurship.
  • Nine-Tenths 9/10: It is a program that contributes to advance business growth by supporting small to medium enterprises through several platforms. It is for the general benefit of the entrepreneurs, owners of small to medium enterprises, independents, and productive families, such as:

    • FORSA Platform: It enables small enterprises to view and submit electronic quotations on government sector purchases.
    • BAHAR Platform: It gathers all freelancers with the most important projects.
    • Made in Saudi Arabia Platform: It is an e-commerce platform that enables craftsmen to open their stores to sell their locally made products.
    • ZAD Platform: It enables small business owners and entrepreneurs to develop their businesses and improve their decision-making process by employing interactive reports.


Training and Qualifying Programs

The competent authorities in the Kingdom provide vocational training and employment-related training programs for enterprises and individuals to increase the specialized national workforce through training and qualitative qualification for work.


Empowering Women

Women and The Kingdom's Economy

Today, women play a developmental role in supporting the national economy. Women are part of the comprehensive development plans that achieve social and economic gains, which prompted the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development to place women on its list of targets to empower them, train them, and enhance their leadership participation in society. The indicators also revealed that the share of women in the labor market for the first quarter of 2020 AD increased by more than the desired goal, to be 27.5% instead of 24%, which reflects the successes achieved and the high level of awareness of the importance of women's participation and the role it plays in economic indicators.

Women in The Private Sector

The Kingdom, represented by the Ministry of Labor, was keen to open several areas for women's work, emphasizing employers to provide a safe and stable work environment by requiring them to apply several regulations to ensure the comfort, stability, and safety of working women.

  • Handbook of Women's Employment in the Private Sector.
  • Unified Organization of the Working Environment for Women

Programs to Support and Empower Women

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has launched several specific initiatives to empower women in the labor market, thus achieving the Kingdom's vision 2030 in supporting and empowering women in the labor market and leadership and administrative positions.

Gender equality and combating discrimination in work and wages

There is complete equality between men and women in the majority of areas related to human rights such as the right to work, education, health, economic rights and others. There is also an equality when it comes to the ability to file a complaint or report on human rights issues. Click here for more.

To stop discrimination in the framework of work, the labor law has established a number of rights and duties on an equal footing between men and women, such as equal pay in the event of equal value and quality of work, and full equality in the search for work aid, and in training programs to obtain work. You can read more about Chapter Nine of the Labor Law, which provides articles for the employment of women under the labor law.
Ma3an Rasd a service that gives the ability to report any violation or corruption in the services of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development which may affect others and the ministry itself.

  • More about: Equality between men and women and combating discrimination in work and wages
  • Female localization.
  • Raising awareness of the importance of women's participation in the labor market.
  • Combating discrimination in the labor market.
  • Supporting programs of transportation for working women (WUSOOL Program).
  • Supporting programs of daycare centers for the children of working women (QURRAH Program).
  • Empowering women in the civil service and strengthening their leadership role.
  • Women Leaders Program 2030.

Controls for Behavioral Abuse Protection in the Work Environment

It is a set of procedures and requirements that the facility must abide by to preserve the privacy, dignity, and personal freedom of the individual.

Behavioral infringement (or abuse) means all abusive practices by one party to another, including all forms of exploitation, threats, harassment, blackmail, temptation, quarrels, insults, humiliation, insinuation, or intentional solitude with the opposite sex, or any other forms of discrimination, whether physical, verbal, or otherwise, whether on the basis of sex, gender or otherwise, that aims, leads, or is likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm to the other party.

These controls aim to promote the creation of a safe work environment in private sector establishments characterized by respect for all, and the preservation of the individual's privacy, dignity and personal freedom guaranteed by the provisions of Islamic Sharia and regulations.

for more details, click here.


Support for Retirees

Through the Public Pension Agency, it provides distinguished services to retirees and its participants to improve pension systems and enhance the concept of governance. The Foundation also works to provide many programs aimed at improving the services provided, such as:


Support for Job Seekers

The "HAFIZ" program provides financial support to job seekers during their job-search journey, provides them with the skills and resources needed to join the labor market, and enables them to search for work by linking their files registered in the system to employment centers and presenting the opportunities available to them.


Indicators and Numbers

Indicator Current Target in 2030
Saudis Unemployment Rate 9%          2nd quarter of 2020 7%
Percentage of Female Workforce 31.4%     31.4% 2nd quarter of 2020 30%
Percentage of SMEs' contribution to GDP 28.75%    In 2019 35%
Percentage of Funding SMEs 52%         3rd quarter of 2020 20%
Number of Freelancers 2,100,000 independent worker     (1st week of 2020)  


Labor Force Distribution

Based on the estimates of the Labor Force Survey conducted by the General Authority for Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2021 (Labor Market | General Authority for Statistics by sex in the private and public sector, the results showed a significant increase in the total female percentage rate to 27.7%, in addition to 26.5% for males, Saudis and non-Saudis.

Sector Type                 Saudis                      Non-Saudis                        Total    
                            Male    Female    Total    Male    Female    Total    Male    Female    Total  
Public sector       59.2      37.5       52.8    3.8           6.3          4.1    26.5      27.7       26.7    
Private sector      40.4      61.2      46.5    74.6         16.4        67.8    60.6    47.2       57.9    
Total                      99.6     98.7      99.3    78.4          22.7       71.9    87.1    74.9        84.6  

For more information on workforce numbers click here.

Important Links


Relevant Agencies