In this iPMI Global Country Guides Insights article, iPMI report author Ian Youngman, takes a look at the news that compulsory insurance cover for Saudi domestic workers, most of whom are from other countries, has come in to effect, February 1 2024.
- Regulations requiring mandatory insurance for new domestic workers in Saudi Arabia have taken effect since 1 February.
- This is part of a raft of new rules on domestic workers.
- Insurance for domestic workers will be part of the employer's contract with the domestic worker recruitment office or company.
- The insurance cover includes compensation to the domestic worker for complete or partial disability resulting from an accident, or in case the employer fails to pay wages and other financial entitlements due to the employer’s death or incapability.
- The Ministry of Human Resources has Musaned, a digital platform to manage various tasks including visa issuance, insurance, recruitment requests and the contractual relationship between the employer and the worker.
- The ministry launched an insurance service on its Musaned platform for contracts of new domestic workers.
- As of Feb. 1, 2024, the insurance service will cover the first two years of the contract, then it will be optional for the employer after the two years.
- Notable benefits provided to employers through this service include reimbursement for recruitment-related expenses in the event of a worker's absence, escape, death, inability to work, or the onset of chronic illnesses that impair their performance.
- Furthermore, the service covers expenses associated with body repatriation, personal belongings, and property in case of domestic worker's death.
- Employers are responsible for providing free medical treatment for the duration of the helper’s employment contract. This includes medical consultations, hospital expenses and emergency dental treatments when needed.
- After two years, the insurance can be extended based on the employer's choice.
- Domestic workers in Saudi Arabia include housekeepers, drivers, housekeepers, cleaners, cooks, live-in nurses, private tutors, nannies, personal care workers, house managers, home tailor, coffee maker, travel assistant, home farmer, private speech and hearing specialist, personal assistant, support worker, and house guard.
- What is still unclear is if health insurance is compulsory.
- Buy it is clear that the state strongly suggests that the employer has domestic helper health insurance.
- Several local and global health insurers offer cover but fewer offer specific domestic worker insurance policies.
- Data from the General Authority for Statistics (GASTAT) showed that the number of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia reached about 3.74 million by the end of Q3 2023.
- Domestic workers in the service and cleaning field topped the list with 1.84 million, followed by driving with 1.8 million.
- There are 5.5 million expats in the country buy once you take out domestic workers this falls to under two million.
- Medical insurance does not cover domestic workers when they travel outside the Kingdom, but some insurance companies provide a treatment package for emergency cases when the domestic worker accompanies the family when traveling abroad.
- Local health insurers should offer specific health cover and consider packaging it with the other insurance requirements.
About the Author
Ian Youngman is an independent writer and researcher specialising in insurance. He writes regularly for a variety of magazines, newsletters, and on-line services. He publishes a range of market reports, and undertakes research for companies. To read his latest report, International Health Insurance 2023, please click here, or visit the REPORTS section of iPMI Global.