Saudi Arabia continues to implement new measures towards improving the rights of women in the country, last week announcing that women would no longer need the permission of a male guardian to travel and this week stating that new regulations are being put into place by the Ministry of Labor so that women and men are treated more equally.
According to Saudi Gazette, the Ministry now “considers a worker as every natural person ‘male or female’ working for an employer and under his or her management and supervision in return for a wage, even if he is not within sight.” The amendments in the labor regulation have stressed that “it is not allowed to discriminate between workers on the basis of gender, disability, age or any other forms of discrimination whether in work, employment or advertising on the vacancy.”
In addition, an earlier regulation around retirement age, which was 60 years for men and 55 for women, has now been rescinded, with the authority delegating that the retirement of all workers should be in tandem with the requirements of the social insurance rules and regulations. Also, amendments have been made to a regulation that used to prohibit an employer from sacking a female worker or issue her a dismissal notice while she is on a maternity leave, now also stating that she cannot be terminated or issued a warning that she will be fired if she falls sick due to pregnancy or delivery, based on certain conditions.
These amendments are part of a sweeping wave of reforms that has taken over Saudi Arabia recently, such as the legal changes mentioned earlier that allow Saudi women to obtain passports without the approval of a male relative, in addition to other decrees allowing women to register births of their children and benefit from new protections against employment discrimination.