Calls for return to Hijri calendar in Saudi over lost pay

Workers lose 15 days of pay each year under the current system, an analyst has claimed

Saudi experts are calling for a return to the Islamic Hijri calendar to pay salaries amid claims employees lose 15 days of wages each year under the current Gregorian system adopted by most companies.

Financial analyst Hussein Al-Raqeeb told Arab News that employees should be compensated for losses related to the Gregorian calendar, estimated to total 15 months of pay over a 40-year career.

“Companies should count the retirement age based on the number of years of service as per the Hijri calendar,” he was quoted as saying.

A company with 2,000 employees and an average salary of SAR5,000 ($1,333) can save SAR3.67m ($978,549) each year under the Gregorian system, he said.

He said companies save 11 days of salary per employee because the Gregorian calendar is 365 days compared to the 354 of the Hijri.

Saudi government salaries are paid according to the Hijri calendar despite the government deciding its budget based on the Gregorian calendar, according to Al-Raqeeb.

In contrast, economist Dr Salem Bajaja said the Gregorian system was necessary as it more inline with international financial systems and the country’s foreign workforce.