Saudi Arabia considers extending two-day weekend for private sector

April 18, 2012

Saudi Arabia is considering the reduction of the work week for employees and workers in the private sector.

Under the proposal, the employees will have two days off instead of the one-day rest they currently have.

Public sector employees already have two days off, Thursday and Friday, and the move is expected to boost job satisfaction in the private sector and make it more attractive for job seekers.

A tripartite committee with representatives from the labour ministry, the private sector and the labour forces will discuss the proposal, Adel Mohammad Faqeeh, the labour minister, said, Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya reported on Tuesday.

Discussions over a series of meetings to be held soon will ensure that the break will meet the needs of the local labour market, will not clash with economic interests and will fit in with the new orientations, the minister said.

“The review of the proposal will be under the umbrella of the King Abdul Aziz Centre for National Dialogue,” the minister said.

The Riyadh-based centre seeks to create an environment that facilitates dialogue between the various segments of the society to promote public interest and consolidate national unity. It also aims to use dialogue to tackle social, cultural, political, economic and educational issues.

The Saudi labour ministry had advised companies and establishments to grant their employees a two-day break, and it gave them the choice to determine the days, the daily said.

The call for the longer weekly break was included in a study that concluded that the one-day off in the private sector had caused several people to seek employment in the public sector or to launch business initiatives. The study also referred to absenteeism in the private sector.

Job seekers are lured by the longer and higher number of holidays and employment stability in the government sector, the study said.

According to Al Eqtisadiya, experts said that granting employees a two-day weekly break would boost productivity by 30 per cent and that not giving them a 48-hour weekly rest affects performance and impacts quality.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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