Saudi Arabia mulls two-day weekend

Manama: Saudi Arabia is considering a reduction of the work week for employees in the private sector.

Under the proposal, the employees will have two days off instead of the one day 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 Faqih, the labour minister, said, Saudi daily Al Eqtisadiya reported yesterday.

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 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.

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