FAQs About Saudi Arabia
Compensation, Benefits & Financial Matters
How do I get my salary and in which currency?
Employees are paid monthly, in Saudi Riyals, by direct deposit into a local bank which are affiliated with international banks.
Is the salary negotiable?
No. The salary that was proposed to you during the interview is the MOH’s final offer. If you accept this offer in writing via email to our company, you will receive an official contract from the MOH in English as soon as possible.
What is the process of opening a bank account?
Employees need to obtain an employment certificate from the Personnel Department and present the same in recommended local bank.
You will obtain an ATM debit card (Visa/Mastercard) which you can use globally for any payments or withdrawals.
In normal conditions, Bank accounts are opened on the same day after completing all formalities of the bank.
Am I entitled for Child Education or Nursing Plan?
No. No exceptions are made.
Bonuses for surgery and on call duties?
There are no bonuses for surgeries and the 10 on-call duties are included in your salary. You will not be required to do more than 10 on-call duties per month.
Are there any extra allowances/benefits such as airplane tickets for us and members of our family (we have two daughters who will stay in Greece)?
As an International employee, you will be entitled to both Initial Hire and Repatriation tickets to and from your point of origin. In addition, each year you will be entitled to a free round-trip annual leave ticket to your point of origin. Tickets are granted within the limit of up to 4 individuals (spouse & 2 children) as long as you have a family status contract (this means that your children would also have to move to KSA). For single status contract, air tickets will be provided to the employee only. Also, children should be 18 years and below.
Privilege Leave, Sick Leave & Annual Holidays
How many annual leave days I am entitled to?
Vacation leave is given to all employees and is equal to a total of 40 days (30 days personal leave + 10 days national holidays in KSA).
What is the process of applying any leave?
Leave Applications are generally raised online through department secretary or the time keeper. An employee needs to follow-up with regard to his/her online application.
How are leave days calculated?
Leave days are calculated on pro-rata basis. Entitled annual leave days Divided By 12 = Monthly Entitlement. An employee can apply from existing balance of leave days. Additional days / leave in advance is considered as an unpaid leave.
However, exceptions can be approved by medical directors of respective hospital.
Can I take leave during my probation period?
As per policy and standard practice, leave applications during probation period are not encouraged by the management.
However, emergency leave can be approved by medical directors of respective hospital. It can be applied online through department secretary.
Can I leave Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during my probation period?
No, not as a rule. Management doesn’t encourage leisure trips outside Kingdom during probation period.
However, for emergencies, exceptions can be approved through medical directors of respective hospital.
How many holidays I am entitled to?
Addition to annual leave, all employee contracts include ten (10) official Islamic/ Saudi holidays. Eid Al Fitr (4 Days) Commencing on the day following the 29th of Ramadan in accordance with Um Al Qura Calendar. If Friday falls within the Eid Al Fitr days, this day will be included in the declared 4 days holiday. Eid Al Adha (5 Days) Commencing on the day of Arafa Stand (the day preceding the feast of Immolation on the 10th of Dulhijja). If Friday falls within the Eid Al Adha, this day will be included in the declared 5 days holiday. National Day (1 Day) Each year, September 23rd is declared as public holiday on account of Kingdom’s National Day.
What is the process of taking sick leave?
The MOH grants paid leave to employees in cases of absences due to illnesses to give them time to recuperate without loss of income. If the employee is injured or became sick and cannot perform his duties temporarily, he is entitled to one month sick leave with full salary. This can be extended for another two months with half month salary. This leave is not granted if injury or sickness occurs when the employee is abroad on his normal leave.
Female employees are entitled to 45 days delivery leave with full salary and including official vacation days.
What if I have obtained all my leave days and still I want more days off?
We do not encourage advance leave practice. However, same can be approved by the medical directors of respective hospital as an out of policy exception and without payment.
Since I have teaching duties at a University MSc program, I would like to know if I have the possibility to have 1 Friday-Saturday-Sunday off once a month in order to perform this duty.
No, unless you make a personal arrangement with the Head Director of your department and only after the first 90 days.
Initial Contract, Re-Contract and Resignation
What is the probation period?
The first (90) days of employment is considered a probationary period wherein the employee is being evaluated by his/her immediate superior on his/her work performance.
During and by the end of this period the employee assessed as being suitable for employment or not.
How many notice days are required if I want to resign during the probation period?
There is no notice period required for employees resigning during their probation period. For such employees, company arranges the exit and other formalities in short period of time.
What is the notice period required for resignation after the probation period?
Minimum three months notice period is required from an employee resigning after completion of the probation period.
What are the penalties I am liable to pay in case of resignation after probation period?
All recruitment expenses in addition to agency fee (if applicable) are calculated on pro-rata basis and billed to the resigning employee. Upon paying all such expenses, an employee receives clearance letter from the company.
What if I don’t want to sign the Re-Contract?
It is absolutely a choice of an employee. At least 6 months before the end of contract, an employee is required to declare his/her intention.
In case where employee would like to re-contract, the performance evaluation results are discussed with the employee by his/her immediate superior and to be forwarded to Personnel Department after acknowledgement by the employee.
Do I still have to pay penalties if resign during my second contract / re-contract?
If an employee attends his/her full contract, he/she becomes not liable to pay expenses made during recruitment process.
If for some reason, I quit is there a penalty?
There is no penalty if you give a 90-day notice.
At the time of resignation, do I receive any sort of gratuity?
There is no such system of gratuity. However, Employees who have successfully completed the contracted term of employment shall be entitled to receive an end of service award equal to ½ of the most recent monthly base salary for each of the first five years of employment and an amount equal to the most recent monthly base salary for each of the subsequent years of employment.
Does the possibility of a better contract next year exists and if it does, is it in order with my abilities and the quality of work I will provide the first year?
Yes, there is a possibility for a better contract. You are entitled by KSA law to a 3-5% annual premium for every year of contract renewal.
How do I obtain my medical practice license in the KSA?
You are obliged to submit all your documents that will be prepared with the assistance of EuroSynapses to the Saudi Council of Health Specialties (www.scfhs.org.sa) in coordination with your hospital. Upon the submission you will obtain a 6-month temporary license and within this period you must underpass an evaluation (oral interview or written exam) depending on your qualifications.
What is Exit/Re-Entry Permission and why it is required?
In Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, once inside the country, an expatriate needs a ‘Exit / Re-entry Visa’ to leave out and return to the Kingdom. In other words, having tickets and passport in hand will not let any one exit the Kingdom until presenting the valid exit permission.
What is the process of applying Exit/Re-Entry?
Admin Department is responsible to arrange the Exit / Re-Entry Visas for employees.
An employee needs to request the same through online application. Shortcut to this application is already available on all desktops. However, department secretary can also help to access it. Further information can be obtained directly from the departments of respective hospital.
What if I misplace my residential permit (Iqama)?
It is an extremely important document for stay in the Kingdom. You must always carry the original with you at all times. Lost Iqama can be replaced by paying government fines. It can also have other consequences.
Am I personally responsible to renew my Iqama or company does it automatically?
It is advisable that employees bring their Iqama to Administration Department of their respective hospitals at least 6 months before its expiry. Delay in the same may lead an employee to other consequences.
What support do I get from the hospital in order to renew my passport?
Dealing with passport is absolutely an employee’s responsibility. An employee needs to follow-up with his/her own embassy in the Kingdom (can be supported by EuroSynapses).
Housing and Transport
About our housing, are we expected to find one on our own or will we be offered some options? Will we get accommodated in a compound? Can you help us find a compound elsewhere?
The MOH will provide you housing upon your arrival in the KSA. The housing facilities of the MOH hospitals are located within, or in close proximity, to the premises of the hospital that you will be appointed to.
If the residence that is provided to you by the MOH of KSA is not satisfactory for you, you are entitled to SAR 50.000 (12.500EUR) Housing Allowance in order to move to a housing facility of your preference.
Our company can refer you to a real estate agency in order to find a housing that facility that covers your needs and meets your expectations.
What is provided in my accommodation?
In addition to complete bedroom set, cutlery, dishes, pots, pans, a kettle come with the apartment, as do basic appliances such as a fridge, stove, laundry etc. Utilities are included, and basic TV channels are also included.
If you want more channels you can purchase satellite packages that include more stations.
How will we move to and from the hospital? Would it be possible for us to bring our cars in Saudi Arabia or to buy one there?
If the hospital accommodates you in its own housing facilities the transportation to and from the hospital will be covered. Otherwise, you are entitled to a monthly Transportation Allowance equal to SAR 400 to cover your transportation costs to and from the hospital to your residence.
You can either buy a car there or rent one yourself (approximately half the cost of acquiring and maintaining a car in Greece).
Will it be possible for us to visit other countries for example during weekends and/or our vacations?
Is it possible to move from hospital accommodation if I want to rent an apartment of my own choice?
Yes, employees are free to move out and rent the apartment of their own choice. Advise on different areas can be taken from Housing Department. However, there is no such facility provided by the hospital to assist an employee in finding the house (EuroSynapses can refer you to a real estate agency).
How do I explore options in order to rent my own apartment?
‘Akari’ is usual term that is used for agents in real estate business. In almost all areas, Akaris can be found easily. www.expatriates.com is generally considered as one of the biggest sources in order to find apartments in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This website also helps you in finding other household items and recreational activities (can be supported by EuroSynapses).
Am I being compensated for leaving the company accommodation?
Yes, an employee leaving company accommodation is entitled for both housing allowance and transportation allowance. Transportation facility is given to only those living in hospital accommodation.
Do our contracts include a health insurance for us and our children?
Your contract grants you public health insurance for all your family members.
Do our contracts include malpractice insurance?
Do our contracts include a contribution to a pension system?
How many working hours?
As per Saudi Arabia law the working week is 5 days and 48 hours long (1 hour lunch break).
As a married couple we wish to be assigned positions in the same hospital or, if not possible, in the same city. Will that be possible?
Couples are always appointed, if not at the same hospital, for sure to hospitals in the same city.
What will be our responsibilities (day clinic, operating theatres etc)?
Same as your current position in the hospital that you work.
Are we expected to learn the Arab language?
No, you are not expected to learn the Arab language, all your communication in the hospital and with the patients will be carried out in English. You will have a translator to help you communicate with patients not able to communicate in English.
How does the system of 24-hour coverage work in these hospitals?
Consultants will only be asked to do 10 on-call duties without having to be physically present at the hospital. If an emergency arises that requires the presence of the doctor and cannot be resolved by his advice through the phone he may have to attend the hospital. Specialists are required to stay in the hospital for 10 on-call duties per month.
We also have young child or baby. How easy or difficult is it to find a certified nanny that we can trust with our baby while we are at work? What about a kindergarten when she grows up a little more? Could that be included in our contracts?
No schooling or nursing allowance is included in your contracts and it will not be covered by the MOH. There are many international kindergartens with certified staff that can attend to your child/baby while you are at work, since there are many international couples (from USA, UK, Germany and many other countries) that live and and work in the KSA.
Will we be able to participate in medical research programs?
You will be able to participate in research programs, but not during your working hours and upon coordination with the head director of your department.
What is the procedure in order to invite members of our family members or friends from Greece? How many times per year could they visit us and for how long?
Family members and friends can be invited any time to stay for as long as they want and the Visa will be arranged from the HR department of the hospital.
Receiving Gifts from Patients
The employees are not allowed to deal with personal gifts from/to patients and/or any client, supplier or associate. The hospital expects all employees to avoid following:
- Giving or receiving money or other cash equivalent as a business gift.
- Giving or receiving entertainment, such as tickets to a sporting event or a sponsored holiday trip.
- Gifts of nominal value, such as chocolates / sweets can be accepted in order to give respect to it’s presenter’s emotions, provided approved by the line-manager of it’s receiver.
The hospital practices strict guidelines on Anti-Discrimination and cannot tolerate discrimination of any type. It is the policy of the hospital not to discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, marital status, physical or mental disability, parental status or any other legally protected classification.
We are committed to the protection of patient health information in accordance with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia law and accreditation standards regarding patient privacy.
Drug and Alcohol abuse.
All employees at the hospital at KSA must know and understand the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits the use of alcohol and all the drugs not recommended by the doctor.
There are strong penalties for possession of or dealing in illegal drugs, including in some cases the death penalty.
Smoking at and around work.
All the hospitals are a smoke-free zone. Smoking is prohibited in all of the enclosed areas within the hospital’s worksites, without exception. This includes common work areas, the manufacturing facilities, conference and meeting rooms, private offices, the lunchrooms, stairs, restrooms; employer owned or leased vehicles, and all other enclosed facilities. Smoking in front of entrances or at any place wearing hospital ID badge or uniform with Logo, is not acceptable.
Personal Visitors & Family
The hospital’s employees are not permitted to have personal visitors while at work. With the exception of emergency situations, no one may enter the work area unless working or conducting business with the hospital.
Employees of the hospital may not bring their children to work while on duty, except for special programs such as Bring Your Child to Work Program or any other approved program.
Basic Guidelines for You Peaceful Stay in Saudi Arabia
Men and women who are not married to each other cannot mix socially, physical contact between couples, i.e. handholding is not permitted and generally handshaking between men and women is not practiced.
Drugs, alcohol, pork and pornographic materials are strictly forbidden. Men and women should dress modestly in public. For women, an abaya should be worn outside the hospital and compounds. Women should cover their head in public places.
Statements about the Kingdom and Government.
We do not encourage our staff to engage in any conversation the Kingdom and the Government with patients, visitors, colleagues and other people outside organization. This is for the safety of our employees.