Saudi Ministry approves labor guidance for private sector

Saudi Ministry approves labor guidance for private sector
Employees work at the Saudi National Health Emergency Operations Center (NHEOC) in the capital Ryadh on May 3, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic crisis. (AFP)
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Updated 04 May 2020

Saudi Ministry approves labor guidance for private sector

Saudi Ministry approves labor guidance for private sector

RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development has issued guidance on relations between workers and private business owners during the coronavirus pandemic. 
It allows private businesses to reduce working hours and cut employees’ wages during the next six months only, while taking into account their daily or weekly working hours. 
The wages shall not be reduced by more than 40 percent of the total salary.
After six months, business owners must return to paying full wages to their employees. 
Employees do not have the right to object the reduction as long as it does not exceed the agreed 40 percent.  
The law also allows business owners the right to approve the timings of their employees’ annual leave depending on work conditions.
It also allows employers to give their employees their annual leave at the same time or alternately. 
Wages during annual leave will be paid at the rate before any reduction. 
Employees have the right to seek an unpaid leave if the business owner approves.  
Employers given the right to use these measures are not exempt from state subsidies granted to help private sector companies crippled by the effects of the pandemic. 
But they cannot terminate employment contracts under the current situation before the six months period is over.


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.