The Ministry of Labor and Social Development plans to implement the 12th phase of the Wage Protection Program on establishments whose workers range between 40 and 59 starting from Nov. 1 (Safar 12, 1439 AH). Under this phase, a total of 14,288 establishments will have to upload wage files of 687,607 workers according to the ministry’s statistics. MLSD spokesman Khaled Abalkhail said the ministry is keen to implement the WPS on all private firms to ensure wages are paid on time, define wage scales for all occupations and reduce labor issues between employers and workers. He stressed the ministry would not hesitate to enforce the system on every firm as the timetables are set forth. According to the sanctions and penalties mentioned in the labor law, if the establishment fails to pay workers’ wages, it will be fined SR3,000 which can be increased by the number of workers, said Abalkhail as well. Abalkhail added if the establishments fail to submit wage data on the system within two months from the date of enforcement, they would be denied access to the ministry’s services, except for issuance or renewal of work permits. If the establishment is late to submit them for three months, it will be banned from using all the ministry’s services, and the workers can transfer their services to other employers without their former employers’ approval, the spokesman said further. The transfer can be processed even if the workers have valid work permits with their former employers. Recently, the ministry unveiled the WPS as part of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020. It aims to create a safe and suitable work environment in the private sector as it will increase transparency, protect the contractual relationships among involved parties and raise the compliance of small and medium-sized enterprises to the system. The employers can visit the ministry’s website and review upcoming phases of implementing the WPS. They can also register with the program in advance as the demo registration will not result in imposing any sanctions on them. For more information, they can download the WPS Guide from the ministry’s portal (www.mlsd.gov.sa).