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Private sector 2-day weekend ‘will raise expat salary 30%’

Sunday 06 January 2013
​A member of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry has opposed the government’s plan to reduce the working hours at private companies and institutions to five days or 40 hours per week, saying the move would raise salaries of expatriate workers by 30 percent.
Mansour Al-Shatri, head of the manpower committee at the chamber, said the decision would make the Saudi employment atmosphere more attractive for expatriate workers, denying chances of work for Saudi nationals in the private sector.
“If we reduce the working hours of expatriate workers from 48 to 40 hours per week, it means increasing their salaries by 30 percent to compensate the shortage in working hours,” Al-Shatri told Al-Sharq Arabic daily.
“The proposed system goes against the Labor Ministry’s efforts to nationalize jobs,” he said. “It will further increase the cost of living of Saudis as it comes following an increase in expat levy from SR 100 to SR 2,400 annually,” he added.
Al-Shatri said the decision would have a negative impact on businesses. “Saudi businessmen agree to provide more incentives to Saudis on condition that they should not cover expatriate workers who account for 90 percent of manpower in the private sector.” He said the new system would also affect the work of contractors, who have to complete their work within a specific period, as well the work of industrial, commercial, health and educational sectors.
“The new law also states that no expatriate worker should be shifted from his original place without his written permission and allows him to be absent for not more than 40 days in a contract year,” Al-Shatri said.
According to the new law, an expatriate worker shall be given a reward of SR 25,000 if he/she informs authorities about any violations that take place in the firm. “This is not a good idea as it would encourage people to make false accusations and will affect businesses.”