The blithe manner in which some Saudi employers treat their workers’ wages is a scandal and shame on the country. The Arabic language daily Okaz (here translated by Arab News), reports that the Ministry of Labor, with the encouragement and Saudi human rights NGOs, is getting tough in its enforcement of laws—and religious duty—that command prompt payment.
Abdullah Abou Al-Samh | Okaz
Delaying the payment of foreign workers is totally against Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Give the worker his wage before his sweat dries.” This came as an order for people to pay their workers their financial rights as soon as they are due.
Timely payment of laborers is a legal duty across the world. However, it is regrettable that some private companies and establishments in our country often delay paying salaries for months, forcing laborers to either stop work or complain to the labor offices. Our newspapers are replete with such stories.
Thankfully, human rights organizations intervene to help workers obtain their rights at least in some cases.
Companies and establishments that delay paying workers come up with lame excuses, claiming that they often do not receive payments from parties that they have contracted with on schedule. This may be true, but is that the fault of employees? Under these circumstances, some foreign laborers resort to begging or take up odd jobs to earn a living. Some of them may even resort to criminal activities to support themselves.
At last the Ministry of Labor has taken action by issuing a decision to punish establishments that delay paying their workers for two conse-cutive months by preventing them from recruiting from abroad for a year. If the delay exceeds three months, then the foreign workers will also have the right to transfer their sponsorship without the consent of their original employers, who will also be forced to settle all payments plus the cost of transferring work papers.