Shoura clears 40-hour week for private sector

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Updated 19 December 2013

Shoura clears 40-hour week for private sector

The Shoura Council has endorsed a proposal to reduce the weekly working hours for employees in the private sector from 45 to 40 with a two-day weekend.
The Shoura members, who met on Monday, adopted a number of amendments to the Labor Law and agreed to reduce total weekly working hours from 45 to 40. They also agreed to make the working contract unlimited if it is renewed three times and if the total employment period had touched four years.
The Shoura insisted that an employee should not be asked to work for more than five hours continuously without rest and should be given a half-hour break for food and prayer. It also warned companies against asking their employees to work more than 40 hours weekly and eight hours daily.
The two-day weekend decision will have to be approved by the Council of Ministers to become law. 
Saudis and expatriates alike have welcomed the decision, saying it would increase their productivity.
“It’s a gamechanger. This move shows Shoura’s farsightedness as the two-day weekend would attract Saudis to the private sector,” said S. Tauqueer, an IT manager from India working for a French multinational in Riyadh.
“This is one of the biggest favors given by the Labor Ministry to the private sector. It will not only boost productivity of workers but also encourage more Saudis to join private firms,” said Abdul Shukoor Ali, a senior executive. “It will contribute to bringing down the stress levels of workers,” he added.
The newly amended Labor Law gives nine reasons for a company to nullify the contract without informing the worker or giving him or her compensation. However, the worker should be given a chance to appeal that decision. 
The nine reasons include attacking the company owner or top executive or colleague during work or if the worker is absent for more than 30 days without a genuine reason during the one-year contract or 15 days continuously. Before firing the worker, he or she shall be given a written notice after 20 days in the first case and after 10 days in the second case.


Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

Updated 29 min 16 sec ago

Two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia ready to confront health epidemics

  • The Kingdom has gained experience in dealing with millions of peoples, says crowd expert

MAKKAH: The General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques has announced its readiness to deal with any epidemic cases. It said that it will provide all necessary information to pilgrims and has doubled cleaning times of the courtyards and corridors of the Grand Mosque in Makkah.

The presidency said that it is raising media awareness in all languages and through informative screens to distribute the latest medical instructions and emergency developments.

Abdulhamid Al-Maliki, assistant undersecretary for services affairs at the presidency, told Arab News that the Two Holy Mosques are collaborating with public health authorities to face all possible situations.

Al-Maliki said that he has been working hand-in-hand with governmental and private agencies to distribute masks and hand sanitizer.

He added that coordination has been made with public health-related bodies to mobilize the necessary media coverage to inform all pilgrims of different nationalities wherever they may be.

The assistant undersecretary said that responding to all instructions and advice is necessary for the best handling of health issues.

Crowd expert Akram Jan said that Saudi Arabia has gained experience in dealing with crowds and millions of people, and that it was prepared to handle several sudden scenarios as well as the most difficult situations with success.

Jan said that the difficulties that accompany the presence of viruses — such as the new coronavirus — are their ability to spread and infect through contact or sneezing. He added that the Kingdom is taking precautionary measures to prevent a disaster from happening.

 

Disinfection

The floors of Makkah’s Grand Mosque are washed and disinfected four times daily as part of measures to ensure the safety of pilgrims and visitors.

Highly qualified cadres use the best technology and cleaning and sanitizing tools, said Jaber Widaani, director of the mosque’s department of disinfection and carpets. 

There are 13,500 prayer rugs at the mosque, all of which are swept and fragranced on a daily basis, he added.

Since the new coronavirus emerged in December 2019 in central China, it has sickened 82,000 people globally, with more than 2,700 deaths. The illness it causes was named COVID-19, a reference to its origin late last year.

Middle East countries have been implementing measures to protect their citizens and residents from the rising coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, Dubai’s Emirates announced a temporary ban on carrying Umrah pilgrims and tourists from nearly two dozen countries to Saudi Arabia.

The announcement came after the Kingdom placed a temporary ban on pilgrims from entering the country to perform Umrah, in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Nearly 7 million Umrah pilgrims visit the Kingdom each year, the majority of whom arrive at airports in Jeddah and Madinah.