Innovative Policy 2017 on Employment and Vocational Education & Training

Quotas, support and subsidies for private employers

By building on validated initiatives, particularly with regard to the involvement of private-sector employers, Saudi Arabia’s Tawafuq Empowerment for Employment for Persons with Disabilities programme has established legislation, policies, and procedures for employers that include quotas, incentives, and subsidies.

Tawafuq Empowerment for Employment for Persons with Disabilities Programme
of origin
Saudi Arabia
Responsible bodyMinistry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) and Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)


Saudi Arabia’s Tawafuq Empowerment for Employment for Persons with Disabilities programme focuses on the creation of a nationwide, fully inclusive private sector economic system by improving and developing legislation and policies, providing pre-employment and employment services, offering vocational training, and using data tracking to promote and support suitable and sustainable employment of persons with disabilities.


The Tawafuq programme tackles the limitations of clear processes for the enforcement of current policies regarding the employment of people with disabilities. In particular, Article 28 of Saudi Arabia’s Labour Law mandates a 4 per cent quota of such employees within the private sector. In 2008 the country ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and within this context the Ministry of Labour and Social Development took the initiative to work on private sector employment of persons with disabilities. From 2012 to 2014 an international benchmarking study and assessment of laws were undertaken; and in 2014 the programme was launched with the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) as the service delivery arm. In 2016, Royal Decree No. 1982 specified the definition of disability and employment as well as recommendations for minimal accommodations and services.

Focusing on Abilities: Hussain contributes to the success of day-to-day operations © Tawafuq Programme, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)

Changing lives improving quality of life for family: Three brothers employed in one company © Tawafuq Programme, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)


Tawafuq strongly focuses on inclusion, providing fertile ground for building and promoting inclusive employment opportunities.
Technology-based delivery
The programme provides quality services with effective outcomes by using technology (e.g., a sign language call centre) and by ensuring that all e-platforms for training become accessible.
Case study reviews
A case review process was established to build capacity and solve disability-related challenges. Service providers and employers can call and engage with a local team of experts to find a solution related to the employment of persons with disabilities.


  • The programme was launched in 2014.
  • Of the approximately 648,000 Saudis with disabilities, 62,728 were employed by 31,790 companies by 2016, and nearly 17,400 received subsidies.
  • By 2016, 17 companies joined the Business Disability Network; seven of them increased the number of employees with disabilities; and an additional 45 companies applied for membership.
  • Various employment channels have been trained in the inclusive job-seeking process.

«The provision and enforcement of legislation and inclusive work environments is core to empower the employment process of persons with disabilities.»

Mr. Ahmed Al-Humaidan, Vice Minister, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Implemented and overseen by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD), HRDF, and the General Office of Social Insurance, the Tawafuq programme promotes employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector. It improves policies and procedures, provides training, documents information, and offers access to subsidies. Royal Decree No. 1982 of 2016 and the Disability and Work Card (Kudra) were introduced, regulating access to employment services. To make employment agencies and platforms inclusive, a job-seeker itinerary and training were designed and accessibility services were mandated. MLSD established the Certification System for Disability Confident Work Environments (Mowaamah, pilot phase 2015–2016), and HRDF endorsed a set of best practice standards for procurement processes. With advice from the International Labour Organization, the Business Disability Network (Qaderoon) was established in 2014, and an IT-training platform for developing professional skills (“Doroob”) became accessible.


  • The number of employees with disabilities in the private sector increased from approximately 15,500 in 2011 to 62,728 in 2016.
  • Tawafuq is now part of the “National Transformation Plan for Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision.”
  • It is planned to assess the impact of Tawafuq with the World Bank’s core diagnostic systems assessment instrument (CODI).
  • By 2020, it is planned that an additional 4,200 companies will employ persons with disabilities, an additional 48,500 persons with disabilities will be employed, and an additional 3,200 companies will be disability-confident and compliant with Mowaamah.


Tawafuq’s scalability builds on current services and avoids duplication. Its cost-effectiveness is enhanced by cross-ministerial efforts that aim to transform welfare beneficiaries to economically productive members. Tawafuq’s annual budget of €4.3 million is secured under the National Transformation Plan.


Ministry of Labour and Social Development, P.O. Box 21110 / 11475 Riyadh – AlMursalatt District, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966112006666 – 920001173; Mobile: +966 505100098

Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), P.O. Box 11517 / 67778 Riyadh – AlMazzar District, Saudi Arabia
Phone: +966112186500 – 920000713; Mobile: +966 505205706


Ministry of Labour and Social Development:; HRDF, Tawafuq website:; Qaderoon: ; Mowaamah: ; ILO, 2007-2015: