Jeddah :The Ministry of Labor plans to make several changes to the country's laws by Oct. 18, which include tougher penalties for violators.
InfoFines would range between SR1,000 and SR10,000, and include temporary or permanent closure of firms failing to comply, said Abdullah Abu Thunain, deputy minister of labor for inspections and workplace development, a local publication reported.
Speaking at a workshop organized by the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday, he said the amendments give the ministry powers to prevent a company from renewing permits for its workers if it fails to meet Saudization targets.
He said the ministry's inspectors have conducted 124,892 visits and identified over 34,000 violations at several companies recently. These include 3,337 violations of Article 39, 4,479 violations related to hiring of women workers, and 1,362 in connection with firms forcing laborers to work out in the sun at midday.
In line with these violations, he said 10 companies have had their accounts closed, and 678 cases have been submitted to the Saudization Committee, with fines of over SR31 million issued.
According to Abu Thunain, the department is facing some challenges, including the growth in the number of companies and their diverse geographic locations. The ministry also had poor communication with come companies and lack of coordination and cooperation from others.
He said the Wage Protection System aims to monitor payment of salaries for all employees in the private sector, and detect violations. They can also examine the machines used by workers to ensure their safety.
Investigators have the right to enter the premises of any company during working hours after showing their official identity cards. They also have the power to look at any document or work-related file but cannot take a copy of it.