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

  • 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.


Prince Khalid says Saudi Arabia’s 90th national day renews pride 

Updated 23 September 2020

Prince Khalid says Saudi Arabia’s 90th national day renews pride 

Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Defense, Prince Khalid bin Salman congratulated King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the people of the Kingdom on National Day. 
“(National Day) renews pride in our past,” the prince said on his official Twitter account on Wednesday, adding that it increased the nation’s ambition for its future.
“On National Day we recall the glories of the founding founder, King Abdulaziz - may God rest his soul - and the heroism of the faithful who sacrificed their lives for our homeland,” he said. 
Saudi Arabia marked its 90th National Day with an announcement from the General Entertainment Authority that the first concert will be held under the motto “mettle to the top,” and feature superstars Rashid Al-Majed and Aseel Abu Bakr in Green Halls in Dammam.
This year, Saudi Arabia marks its national day amid the coronavirus global pandemic.

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
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