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Saudi plans SAR 100,000 fine for firms that violate weekend rule

Saudi plans SAR 100,000 fine for firms that violate weekend rule

Companies warned against counting weekends as part of annual leave

Saudi plans SAR 100,000 fine for firms that violate weekend rule

Saudi Arabia has warned companies not to count weekends as part of employees’ annual leave with plans to fine violators up to SAR 100,000 ($26,666), according to local media reports.

Under the Saudi labour law, weekends cannot be considered part of a worker’s annual vacation.

However, a source from the kingdom’s ministry of labour told Arabic daily Makkah that many firms were not abiding by the law.

“The ministry has recorded several cases where companies and employers exploit the ignorance of employees about their rights,” said the source.

“Weekends are official paid leaves. No company has the right to force its employees to work during the weekend and no company has the right to deduct salary for the weekends.”

Violators will have to pay the fine by a set deadline, failing which the penalty will be increased, the source added.

While penalties are usually monetary, they can also be administrative. In certain cases, the ministry also has the authority to close down the company for 30 days.

Repeat violators will face bigger fines or may even have their licenses cancelled, the source added.

The kingdom is currently mulling the possibility of having a two-day weekend and 40-hour workweek for the private sector.

However, earlier this month, the Mecca Chamber of Commerce and Industry warned that the plan could cost the country SAR 100bn ($26.6bn) in lost hours of work and productivity.

“We are still a developing country and need more national production, not a weakening of either the private or public sector,” MCCI chairman Saleh Jamal was quoted as saying by Arab News.

The MCCI board will study the effects of the decision, which has “pros and cons, but the negatives are much more because of the resulting costs,” he added.


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