Saudi Gazette – About 5.6 million workers in more than 12,000 establishments have been included in the wage protection program since its launch in August 2013, the Ministry of Labor announced on Sunday.

The 9th stage of the program was launched on Nov. 1. It covers establishments with 100 or more workers.

The first stage of the program was launched on August 2013 starting with the establishments which had 3,000 workers or more.

From February, the program will cover establishments with less than 100 and more than 10 workers.

The program protects the workers’ wages and reduces problems between employers and employees.

“We will never slacken in applying the wage protection program which will be applied on all private establishments to make sure that workers are regularly paid their monthly salaries on time,” the ministry asserted.

It warned violating establishments of stoppage of all services for them and allowing their employees to transfer their iqamas (residence permits) to other employers without their consent.

Meanwhile, as many as 401,513 Saudi women are employed by the private sector, local daily Al-Madina reported on Sunday quoting a Labor Ministry source.

The source said the women constituted about 41 percent of the Saudi manpower in the private sector.

He said 347,275 new Saudi employees were enrolled in the private sector during 2014 which included 142,113 women.

The source also said that a total of 593,786 private establishments have fallen into the red Nitaqat zone which deprives them of benefiting from the services rendered by the ministry.

He said the the ministry has also included small service establishments with nine workers or less in the Nitaqat program.

“The small establishments can avoid the ministry’s punishments if they employe one Saudi permanently and insure him or her with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI),” he said.

The source recalled that under a ministerial decision, small service establishments will be classified in the green Nitaqat zone when they employ at least one Saudi citizen.

“In this case, the establishment will enjoy all the ministry’s services including renewal of the wok permits, transfer of iqamas and foreign recruitment,” he said.

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