Saudi Arabia Considers A Two-day Weekend For Private Sector Employees
Category: Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development says it is studying the possibility of amending the Labor Law article related to working hours to increase the weekly off to two days for private sector employees.

Saad Al-Hammad, spokesman for the ministry, said the ministry is keen on taking all measures that serve both the interests of employees and the labor market in a manner that contributes to achieving the government's objectives and the labor market strategy in light of the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

Al-Hammad noted that the ministry had previously worked on proposed amendments to the Labor Law and had put these forward for public feedback through an online opinion poll platform.

As for repeated demands that the Ministry of Human Resources implement a two-day weekend for private sector employees and reduce working hours to attract Saudis to the job market, the spokesman said: "If there is any development related to the ministry, it will be published on its official website as well as on its social media accounts."

The lawyer and legal consultant Kholoud Al-Ahmadi said that Article 98 of the Labor Law affirms that a worker cannot work for more than eight hours daily, if the employer adopts the daily criterion, or 48 hours per week, if the employer adopts the weekly criterion. During Ramadan, working hours are reduced since they do not exceed six hours per day or 36 hours per week.

Article 99 of the Labor Law clearly states that the working hours stipulated in Article 98 of the law can be increased to nine hours per day for certain categories of workers, or in some industries and jobs in which the worker does not work continuously. In some industries and jobs that are dangerous or harmful, it could be reduced to seven hours per day. The categories of workers, industries, and jobs are determined by the minister of human resources.

Article 100 of the law permits employers, with approval from the ministry, to extend working hours to eight hours per day or 48 hours per week where the nature of the work requires performing work in rotation, provided the average working hours do not exceed eight hours a day or 48 hours per week.

Specifically, Al-Ahmadi explained that Article 101 of the Labor Law has been amended to read: "Working hours and rest periods are regulated during the day, so that workers do not work for more than five consecutive hours without a period of rest, prayer and food of not less than 30 minutes during working hours, and they are not required to remain at work for more than 12 hours at a time."

Labor Law grants employers exceptions in giving weekly off during occasions such as annual inventory work, budget preparation, liquidating businesses, closing accounts, preparing for discount sales, preparing for seasons, holidays, and other occasions, provided that the number of days in which workers are required to work does not exceed 30 per year.

The actual working hours cannot exceed 10 hours per day or 60 hours per week in any case. A decision will be made by the minister regarding the maximum number of additional working hours per year.

16 May, 2022 0 2668
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