Saudi Arabia: Private sector employees may get two-day weekend

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development has brought up for discussion the feasibility of granting a two-day weekend to private sector employees.

The private sector employees in the Kingdom have been demanding a review of the official working hours, hence the ministry is now forced to consider the demand.

Addressing the issue of the growing demand for the two-day weekend, the ministry’s spokesperson Saad Al-Hammad said, “The ministry is keen on taking all the measures that serve the interests of the workers and the labor market in a way that contributes to achieving the government’s objectives and the labor market strategy in light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” reported the Saudi Gazette.

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As per Article 98 of the Kingdom’s labour laws, employees are not supposed to work beyond eight hours, a day. If the employer considers the daily criterion, the total number of working hours in a week adds up to 48. However, during the month of Ramzan, there are only six working hours in a day, which reduces the weekly working hours to 36.

“Article 99 of the Labour Law clearly showed that the working hours stipulated in Article 98 of the law could be increased to nine hours per day for some categories of workers, or in some industries and jobs in which the worker does not work continuously,” lawyer and legal consultant Kholoud Al-Ahmadi was quoted by the Saudi Gazette.

It could also be reduced up to seven hours per day for select categories of workers or in some industries and jobs which are harmful. The minister of human resources is authorised to decide the categories of workers and industries.

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