Private sector employers must give workers health insurance cover

News about employment in Saudi Arabia

Sarah Peddie

Saudi Arabia’s health insurance regulator has insisted that all employers within the private sector must give their employees health insurance cover. 

The Saudi Council of Cooperative Health Insurance has stated that employees within the country’s private sector should not be paying for their own health insurance or anyone in their immediate family. 

Health insurance starts from the very first day an employee starts work, covering all family members.

The regulator has stressed that when an employee moves to another company then the new employer is responsible for insuring the worker from the first day of work.

They stated that no private sector employee should be paying for their own health insurance or any member of their family who is covered by the system either.

It has not been stated whether this also extends to expat employees. However, recent regulations that have come into place within Saudi has removed restrictions on expat workers in the private sector. This was to attract talent from overseas and increase job market mobility. 

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Expat and overseas workers make up around 30 per cent of Saudi Arabia’s population. 

This news comes a couple of weeks after expat workers in Saudi Arabia were given better job mobility under changes to the kafala sponsorship system within the private sector. They introduced their Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) which offers more freedom to migrant and expat workers.

The changes will benefit around 10 million migrant and expat workers throughout the Kingdom. 

Foreign workers within the private sector will have improved job mobility - they will be able to change jobs and leave the country without their employers consent. The changes have come in as part of Saudi’s effort to build an attractive job market.

It will also allow expat workers to directly apply for government services and their employment contracts will be documented digitally. 

The initiative will help expat and foreign workers get residency status that is not tied to a specific employer and will allow exit and re-entry visas whilst protecting the rights of the employee and their employer. 

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