Council of Saudi Chambers rejects two-day weekend

Council of Saudi Chambers rejects two-day weekend
Updated 07 February 2014

Council of Saudi Chambers rejects two-day weekend

Council of Saudi Chambers rejects two-day weekend

The Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) has rejected the Shoura Council’s decision to give private sector workers a two-day weekend and 40-hour working week, arguing that it would increase business and labor costs, and negatively affect the economy.
The CSC expressed its views in a statement on Wednesday, just 24 hours after the Shoura Council voted to stick to its December 2013 decision on the issue.
The CSC called on the Shoura Council to review the decision and accused it of not taking the views of businesspeople into account. The CSC represents the country’s regional business chambers.
The CSC said the decision would not make the private sector more attractive for Saudi jobseekers, weaken nationalization efforts, see businesses lose money, increase the prices of goods and services on local markets, and make Saudi exports less competitive.
The CSC added that the move would affect the dynamism of the private sector, which contributes 58 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. This had helped it to expand and complete projects, and create jobs for Saudis.
The CSC had earlier taken part in discussions on the proposals with Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and members of the Shoura’s human resources committee.
The CSC had also sent an official letter to the Shoura Council explaining that businesspeople objected to the proposal and wanted working hours to remain the same with only one day off.
In the letter, the CSC claimed that the Shoura’s proposal would particularly hurt contracting, operations and maintenance companies. In addition, businesspeople would have to spend more by paying their workers overtime to meet deadlines on government projects, which would increase wage costs by 30 percent.
The letter also stated that this would affect contracts signed with labor exporting companies, which sets the working week at 48 hours.
The letter also stated that Saudis would not be attracted to the private sector by reduced working hours. There were other more effective ways to incentivize Saudis, including providing training and strengthening job security.