Recently Saudi Gazette has reported that The Labor Ministry is considering to fix the minimum wage for Saudis in the private sector at SR5,300 and for expatriates at SR2,500. The decision will be implemented soon after wage protection program is fully implemented.
Ministry of Labor set the minimum wages for the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia as well as Saudi nationals. Although the minimum wages set for Saudis as well as expatriates is not enough to even survive with a family but still, it is better than nothing. Before going on further let me tell you about the minimum monthly wages set for the Saudis and expatriates in Saudi Arabia. Minimum wages for Saudis set by the government is SR 3,000/- and monthly wages for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia is SR 600/- per month. Yes, you read it right, this is SR 600/- per month.
Before discussing it further, let me clarify you one thing that I have personally met some expatriates coming from Bangladesh and India taking an as low salary as SR 142/-. After setting this minimum wage, at least they will be getting much more than before. We have also published an article regarding Average Salary under each profession in Saudi Arabia. “Average Salary by Profession”
Some months ago National Workers’ Committee made a proposal to the Ministry of Labor to increase the minimum wages for Saudis from SR 3,000/- to SR 6,000/-. In making the recommendation, the committee cited the needs of employees and their families, average salary rates in Saudi Arabia and changes in the cost of living. However private sector from all over the Saudi Arabia has rejected this proposal forcefully. There is already a Nitaqat Law in Saudi Arabia to which businesses in Saudi Arabia have to comply. According to Nitaqat Law, every business must maintain a certain percentage of Saudis in his payroll to operate. Moreover, Global Al Jazira academy conducted a study which claims that more than 86 percent of the expatriates in Saudi Arabia are paid less than SR 2,000/- per month. In this scenario, it is next to impossible to increase the wages of Saudis to SR 6,000/-
It is not easy to pay Saudis SR 6,000/- as minimum wages. The number of Saudi female employees in the private sector has reached 160,000, reported the newspaper. Moreover, the private sector is under tremendous pressure of complying with Nitaqat Rules. On one hand, I agree with the National Workers’ Committee to increase the minimum wages for Saudis to improve their living standard. But on the other hand, there are other workers who are working with them called expatriates. They should also think about them as well. Increasing minimum wage for Saudis without increasing minimum wage for expatriates will create huge discrimination among them.