Night workers given new rights in Saudi labor law overhaul

The decision will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. (SPA)
Updated 02 November 2019

Night workers given new rights in Saudi labor law overhaul

  • Minister’s decree outlines working hours, employee protection

JEDDAH: The Saudi government has moved to regulate night work and outline employee rights for those who work outside normal hours in the Kingdom. Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the minister of labor and social development, issued a ministerial decree defining night work, and clarifying the responsibilities and rights of employees at their workplaces.
The decree states that night work includes any job done between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while normal working hours include all jobs performed between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., which represents the main working hours.
Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail said the term “night worker” refers to anyone whose job requires them to work for at least three hours during the night work period specified by the decree.
Employers are responsible for providing night workers with health services, and night workers have a right to present their workplace with a medical report to clarify whether they are fit work at night.
“If a worker’s health does not allow him to work during the night, he must be transferred to work on a day shift for the same number of hours,” Aba Al-Khail said.
He added that the decree outlined cases where night work should be avoided. These include anyone who provides a medical report stating that they are not fit for night hours, pregnant women for the 24 weeks before delivery, and pregnant women who provide medical reports stating they need additional time away from night work to ensure the health of the mother and baby.
In these cases, the employer must transfer employees to shifts during normal hours and ensure they have access to food services.
The ministry spokesman said that night workers must be compensated in the form of adjusted working hours, higher wages or similar benefits.
“Night workers must be provided with a suitable transportation allowance for night work, appropriate means of transport when other transport services are not available, or compensation for transport charges,” he said.
“In addition, night workers must receive an allowance suitable for the nature of their night work, or the actual working hours of night work must be reduced while maintaining the same weight as the normal working hours, benefits and benefits earned.
“The establishment must also protect the rights of night workers and ensure equality with employees of normal working hours through providing training, qualification, seniority, promotions and so on,” he added.
Aba Al-Khail said that the rest period between the end of one working day and the start of the next must not be less than 12 hours, and the maximum duration of night work must not exceed three months. After that, the night worker must be transferred to a normal hours for at least one month, unless the employee wishes to continue working at night. In that case, written consent must be given and kept in his file. The right to withdraw this consent must be protected.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The decree explained that night work includes any job done between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while normal working hours include all jobs performed between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., which represents the main working hours.

• Employers are responsible for providing night workers with health services, and night workers have a right to provide their workplace with a medical report to clarify whether they can work at night.

The minister stressed the need of employers to take into account the situations of older employees, those with family responsibilities, and any others with special requirements.
“These compensations and benefits apply to those who work in the night work period for a full month, or at least 25 percent of the total monthly work for two months or more, or more than 45 business days a year. They do not apply to the night-work season during Ramadan,” said Aba Al-Khail.
He added that the decree is one of several ministerial edicts designed to improve workplaces and organize the work environment for women. The rules will take effect from Jan. 1, 2020.
Lawyer Ghaida Al-Moayad said that there will be a need to increase night work to achieve the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030, and the new legislation will help to regulate this and preserve the rights of workers.
She added that the new rules will protect women, and pregnant women in particular. Another important aspect of the law is that employees will not be required to work night shifts for more than three months in a row without their consent.
Al-Moayad said that if an employee who usually only works during normal hours is kept on past 11pm, this is not classed as working at night under the new rules. Instead, it would be considered “overtime,” as defined in article 107 of the labor bylaw. Based on this, each one hour worked by the employee is counted as one and a half hours. She added that many employers are not aware of this right and many labor disputes arise because of overtime calculations.
Siraj Wali, a consultant in pulmonary and sleep medicine, said that about 20 percent of employees work on night-shift systems. This disturbs the body’s biological clock and leads to an increased risk of diabetes and weight gain. Some studies have found that the sleep deprivation caused by working night shifts increases the risk of breast cancer and, in the long term, heart disease and even early death.
Wali added most workers on night shifts get less sleep that those on normal hours, which leads to an increased risk of accidents while driving or in the workplace. It can also lead to excessive daytime sleeping, decreased cognitive function, loss of concentration and poor decision making.
To avoid these consequences, Wali said employees must make sure they get enough sleep. In addition, employers should arrange periodic health checks to identify any issues that might be affecting shift workers. They should also ensure there are enough workers on duty during night shifts to decrease the load on staff and help them work more efficiently.


Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

Updated 15 November 2019

Misk Initiatives Center signs 12 deals to develop youth talent

  • MoUs with top firms such as Chinese tech giant Huawei, French oil major Total open new opportunities

RIYADH: The Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Foundation Misk Initiatives Center has signed 12 memorandums of understanding (MoU) on the sidelines of the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh with local and international companies to support and develop youth talent.

Among the companies were the Chinese tech giant Huawei, the French oil firm Total, the Emirati Federal Youth Authority, and the Ministry of Economy and Planning.

The agreements stipulated joint work between the two parties in the fields of talent development in Saudi Arabia and information and communications technology, in accordance with the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. 

This initiative aims to find ways of cooperation and employment opportunities between the two parties.

The MoU signed between the center and the Emirati Federal Youth Authority provides for the enhancement of joint cooperation in support of youth. 

The two parties will seek to discuss future cooperation, to build a strategic partnership between the two parties in exploring potential cooperative opportunities and setting a framework for such cooperation, in addition to organizing the exchange of technologies and innovations through the joint organization of courses, forums and workshops.

The MoU aims at creating a specialized scientific dialogue between the two parties, conducting joint research at the institutes in the field of entrepreneurship and the skills of the future, considering launching joint initiatives, and examining the possibilities of cooperative programs based on the extensive experience of Misk and the Federal Youth Authority.

Misk’s Initiatives Center agreement with Total will promote joint cooperation, find training opportunities for Saudi talent at the company’s headquarters and facilities, and cooperate on educational programs that support entrepreneurship and an ecosystem for startup companies, especially in the fields of energy and technology.

The Misk Global Forum also witnessed the signing of a MoU with “Hub71” to promote learning and leadership among Saudi youth, and enhance opportunities for joint collaboration, in addition to two MoUs with 500 startups and seed stars “to promote joint cooperation between the two parties, to develop and grow the business of startups and provide them with the necessary
environment.”

Misk also signed a MoU with the Public Institution for Education and Global Leadership to promote joint cooperation and achieve the objectives of both sides, to support innovation initiatives that instill the entrepreneurial mindset of young people, as well as the establishment and organization of entrepreneurship approaches. 

Both parties agreed to focus on exploring potential collaborative opportunities related to the Entrepreneurship World Cup, and establish a competition with competitors coming from 170 countries.

Both parties also agreed to support international competitions aimed at identifying the best solutions in various fields and sectors, as well as exchanging programs on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The center has signed a MoU with the Saudi Industrial Development Fund to discuss the possibility of providing training programs and courses for the center’s employees of the Fund and the relevant authorities. In addition to discussing available opportunities for cooperative training within the Fund, and providing opportunities for participation and contribution of the Fund’s staff in Misk’s programs.

The MoU aims to explore the benefits of existing agreements between the two parties with international financial and educational institutions, in order to find opportunities that provide programs, training and educational courses, and granting cooperative trainings for Saudi youth in those global institutions.

The center also signed a MoU with the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), aiming to enhance joint cooperation on educational technology and its integration into the educational systems in the Islamic world.

An MoU with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will enhance the cooperation between the two parties in several initiatives, including academic development, training, entrepreneurship and innovation programs.

An MoU with Endeavor Saudi Arabia will support the Kingdom’s youth, enhance their talents and potential, stimulate economic growth, and find ways of cooperation between the two parties that serve their common interests.

The center’s MoU with the Ministry of Economy and Planning aims to spread awareness, provide new information on the education and training of human resources in the administrative and economic fields, youth empowerment, and coordinate efforts to raise their abilities.

The MoU aims to create cooperative training opportunities in local and international institutions with the purpose of workforce growth in the Kingdom’s economic sector, contributing to the development of national competencies in the economy, policies and procedures, strategic planning, in addition to providing job opportunities for graduates from areas that serve the interests of both parties and support the achievement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.