The social security in Saudi Arabia is regulated by a law of 2000, implemented in 2001, which provides for a social insurance system.
The system covers private-sector and some categories of public-sector workers. Voluntary coverage is available for persons who are self-employed, are working abroad, or no longer satisfy the conditions for compulsory coverage. Agricultural workers, fishermen, household workers, family labor, and foreign workers are excluded from the system. Civil servants and military personnel are covered by special systems, although under certain conditions, former contributors under the civil and military scheme may request to have contribution periods credited toward the public social insurance scheme.
Funds are contributed by both the insured person and its employer in the following proportions: (i) Insured person: 9% of gross earnings; and (ii) Employer: 9% of payroll. The minimum monthly earnings used to calculate contributions are 1,500 riyals (approximately USD 400). The maximum monthly earnings used to calculate contributions are 45,000 riyals (approximately USD 12000). The government offers an annual subsidy and covers any operating deficit. In case of self-employed persons, the contribution is 18% of declared income.
The old-age benefits are available for men at age 60 and for women at age 55, in both cases a minimum of 120 months of paid or credited contributions is required. For men working in arduous or unhealthy conditions, the funds are available at age 55 with at least 120 months of contributions. Further, funds are available at any age with at least 300 months of contributions and if no longer covered by the program. In all cases, retirement from covered employment is necessary. An old-age settlement is paid if the insured does not satisfy the qualifying conditions for an old-age pension.
The old-age pension amounts to 2.5% of the insured's average monthly earnings during the last 2 years for each year of contributions, up to 100%. The average monthly earnings used to calculate benefits must not exceed 150% of the insured's monthly earnings at the beginning of the last 5-year contribution period. If the insured's monthly earnings decrease during the last 2 years before retirement, special provisions apply to adjust the average monthly earnings used to calculate benefits. The minimum pension is 1,725 riyals (approximately USD 460) a month.
In case of being entitled to an old-age settlement, a lump sum is paid of 10% of the insured’s average monthly earnings during the last 2 years before retirement for each month of the first 5 years of contributions plus 12% for each additional month.
The Ministry of Labor provides general supervision and the General Organization for Social Insurance administers the law and program through district offices.
Source:Social Security Programs Throughout the World: Asia and the Pacific, 2010, available at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/progdesc/ssptw/2010-2011/asia/index.html