Legal systems are a reflection of the reality of the society that organizes them, and they generally aim to organize and satisfy the needs of the members of this society, which explains the need to renew and develop these systems with the passage of time and changing circumstances. In recent years, the traditional legal systems that regulate the working relationship are no longer sufficient to keep pace with the developments created by the technological revolution in the work system, which arose with it the need to develop new legal mechanisms and systems to organize work relationships in line with this development.
In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, digital transformation and the presence of a strong and advanced technical infrastructure have contributed to the success of the governmental and private sectors in their implementation of remote work mechanisms and programs, to face obstacles that may stand in front of employees such as geographical distance and mobility processes, and were able to achieve business continuity despite the presence of pandemics and compelling circumstances. For workflows such as the Coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched the “teleworking program” initiative to address the gap between employers and job seekers in the Kingdom according to an integrated methodological and scientific basis, and a clear vision supported by well-thought-out procedural systems and regulations to reach their best performance.
Teleworking is defined as “the worker’s performance of his job duties in a place other than the usual workplace, using any of the means of communication and information technology.” The “teleworking program” is one of the most important and latest national initiatives in the Kingdom to enable and develop Saudi skills and reduce the gap between the employment needs of different companies and Saudi talents looking for jobs that fit their lives and responsibilities.
The decision to launch the program came within a set of organizational decisions that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development worked on to provide stimulating job opportunities for national human resources, and to expand the circle of participation with the private sector in line with the Ministry’s strategy concerned with human capital development, and to enhance contribution to the economic system.
The program aims to support groups of Saudi women and people with special needs who are not suited to go to work daily, as well as residents of areas that are far from the labor market in the Kingdom, in addition to increasing the percentage of localization and supporting and developing the Saudi labor market to benefit from the advantages of remote work.
The contractual relationship of the teleworker is regulated by an employment contract in which it is explicitly stated that the work for the employer is “remotely”. Teleworking is subject to the Saudi labor system in general, in addition to a set of terms and conditions set by Ministerial Resolution No. 792, the most important of which for the worker is that he be a Saudi national and that his age ranges between 18 and 60 years, and that he is fluent in the use of modern technical devices, and that Activates the “Absher” application.
It is also required that the nature of the work can be performed through means of communication and information technology through the phone, e-mail, chatting, social media, direct interaction, and others.
The teleworking program allows the employer to employ the worker remotely, full or part-time, and the agreement with the worker who performs his work in the main workplace allows him to perform his work “remotely”, whether it is during the approved working hours in the facility or elsewhere.
The establishments (employer) are obligated to provide all the necessary tools and devices for the worker to perform his work, in addition to paying the costs of maintaining the devices used by the worker remotely to ensure that they continue to be valid for work. As well as paying the bills of the means of communication and information technology that he provides to the worker to carry out his work entrusted to him and taking into account the public safety means necessary to be available in the workplace.
While the teleworker is obligated to keep the tools and devices in his custody and care and to request the necessary maintenance for them from the employer whenever necessary, he must also exercise the usual care and diligence, and return the tools and devices provided by the employer whenever he is requested to do so. And not to use these tools and devices for other than work needs, or in illegal activities.
The teleworking program allows Saudi establishments to attract Saudi national talents to work without being restricted to their geographical location or even the company’s official working hours. Accordingly, it is required to document the contracts of teleworkers in the electronic portal specified by the Ministry and to specify the place or places where work can be performed, job tasks and job description for them, the number of working hours, start and end times of work, the salary and all rights and allowances, in addition to any other rights stipulated In the work system or ministerial decisions and internal regulations approved in the facility.
Although it is required to document teleworkers’ contracts through the electronic portal specified by the ministry to hire them and must be registered in the Insurance as a full-time/part-time teleworker before being registered in the telework portal. it is not required for teleworkers subject to this decision to obtain a prior permit from the Ministry of Labor or any other entity.
Service provider companies are accredited and contracted companies with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and are specialized in providing solutions and technical, electronic, and support services for telework, building, equipping, and operating telework systems and programs.
The teleworking program, as a major legal entity, includes many service providers that have been officially approved by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in a way that guarantees each of the companies joining the program and job seekers who are employed through the program their full rights and benefits. These entities are the only entities authorized to provide employment services within the “teleworking program” legally and reliably.
The companies intended to join as a service provider in the teleworking program must meet all registration documents such as commercial registration certificates, Chamber of Commerce subscription, social insurance, Saudization, zakat, and value-added tax, in addition to the company’s domain being green at least, and that it is licensed to practice employment – Human Resources Department Technical solutions, or any related field.