9 p.m. shop closure, 40-hour week for private sector ‘to be approved’

9 p.m. shop closure, 40-hour week for private sector ‘to be approved’
Updated 27 January 2016

9 p.m. shop closure, 40-hour week for private sector ‘to be approved’

9 p.m. shop closure, 40-hour week for private sector ‘to be approved’

JEDDAH: The government intends to approve a recommendation to close all shops at 9 p.m. and institute a 40-hour working week for the private sector, according to a local media report said on Tuesday.
Sources were quoted as saying that the Cabinet would make the announcement soon based on studies it had received. This year has previously been earmarked for implementation. There would likely be exemptions, with investors given a grace period before having to comply, they said.
The proposed 9 p.m. closure has caused concern among retail shop owners who said this may result in poor sales. They have argued that customers in the Kingdom cannot go shopping in the mornings or afternoons due to high temperatures, especially in summer. They have also objected to calls for a two-day weekend.
A senior official at the Ministry of Labor recently said during a meeting held with a committee of the Council of Saudi Chambers that studies on the matter have been concluded.
He said the ministry was making every effort to make working conditions more attractive for Saudi citizens in the private sector, in a bid to reduce unemployment and boost Saudization levels.
Participants at the meeting also discussed setting up a program to counter what they termed “unproductive” Saudization.
The ministry official said there was also a discussion on reconsidering Saudization in the bakery and butchery industries if the private sector submitted proposals in this regard.
The Labor Ministry has insisted that Nitaqat quotas are fair. Nitaqat is a national initiative by the ministry that evaluates companies in the private sector based on the number of Saudi employees.