Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours

Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours
With the office being a mere distant memory for most, the ministry said it was working to protect employees from dismissal or loss of contractual benefits during the pandemic. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 07 April 2020

Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours

Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours
  • But businesses hit by coronavirus can change contracts only with employees’ consent, ministry says

JEDDAH: Saudi private-sector employers whose businesses have been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic have been told they can cut their employees’ wages and working hours.

But they may do so only with the employees’ consent, and the reduced wages must accurately reflect the number of hours worked, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said.

The ministry also moved to allay fears among some private sector staff, both Saudi and expatriate, that unscrupulous employers could use the coronavirus crisis to exploit their workers.

“Workers can report any violation through the ministry’s website, channels and social media platforms,” Saad Al-Hammad, director of Human Resources Affairs at the ministry, told Arab News.

In addition, employers who have benefited from state subsidies, such as the SR9 billion ($2.4 billion) fund created last week to compensate Saudi workers for the effects of the pandemic, may not terminate employment contracts. Employees, however, retain the right to do so.

The ministry said its aim was to protect employees from dismissal or loss of contractual benefits during the pandemic. It would continue to regulate the labor market, mitigate the economic effects of the virus outbreak on the private sector and protect the interests of both parties in the labor relationship, it said.

Saudi legal counsel Dimah Talal Al-Sharif said amending the contractual relationship between employer and employee in this way was permissible under the legal concept known as “force majeure,” which applied to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ministerial decision aims to limit any attempt to tamper with people’s rights as employees, and to define the limits that both parties must agree on first, while also reflecting the reality,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.


Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

Updated 02 December 2020

Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

Cabinet reaffirms Saudi commitment to Yemen security, development

NEOM: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reaffirmed its keenness on achieving security and development for the people of Yemen.
The Cabinet urged moving forward to implement the Riyadh Agreement to promote peace and stability, through a a comprehensive political solution.
The Cabinet also addressed the recently announced Digital Cooperation Organization, which sees Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and Pakistan participating in the initiative.
The agreement aims to strengthen cooperation across all innovation-driven areas and accelerate the growth of the digital economy.
The ministers also reviewed efforts to uproot corruption in the Kingdom, highlighting an agreement co-signed by the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to carry out the Riyadh Initiative, aiming at consolidating international cooperation among law-enforcing agencies relating to fighting corruption.
At the session, which was chaired virtually by King Salman because of the pandemic, the Kingdom reiterated its denunciation of the terrorist attack that targeted civilians in Nigeria. The attack, near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, left over 40 people dead over the weekend.
The Cabinet reaffirmed the Kingdom’s stand along the side of Nigeria against such heinous acts which target lives of the innocents and destabilize security and stability, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
The government also authorized the interior minister to sign a MoU with the UK’s Home Office on cooperation in the field of civil defense and civil protection.
The Cabinet also authorized the Board of Directors of the Communications and Information Technology Commission to hold public auctions for the frequency spectrum for commercial purposes.
The ministers also approved the Juvenile Law and the Chambers of Commerce Law.