Government workers in Saudi Arabia can now be dismissed and will have to undertake a mandatory assessment to determine their eligibility for a bonus or pay increase.
The new reforms announced by the Ministry of Civil Service officially came into effect at the start of the new Islamic year on Sunday, October 2, according to Arab News.
They aim to raise the performance of employees, increase productivity and develop a work culture in-line with the National Transformation Plan reforms announced earlier this year.
Following the introduction of the new system, 1.5 million Saudis working in the government sector are now subject to job performance evaluations and no longer have immunity from dismissal. Government workers will also now be paid by the Gregorian rather than the Islamic calendar.
However, an employee can only be fired after being given three years to improve their performance, according to the publication.
During this time they will be denied salary increases unless their performance improves and will face disciplinary action if no improvement is seen by the second year.
In the third year the employee’s file will be sent to a specialised body to consider dismissal.
Under the employee evaluation system, workers will be classified under five categories from ‘excellent’ to ‘unsatisfactory’.
‘Excellent’ employees will be given an increment of 5 to 6 per cent, ‘very good’ employees 4 per cent, ‘good’ employees 3 per cent, ‘satisfactory’ employees 1 to 2 per cent and ‘unsatisfactory’ employees no increase.
HR specialist Bandar Al-Safir told the publication that the three year period given to unsatisfactory employees to improve their performance was far too long.