Where most the companies have now switched over to the Gregorian calendar to pay the salaries of the employees, some of the experts are now calling for the Hijri Calendar to be readopted. It will serve the interests of the employees in a better way, who they are saying will be losing 11 days of salary every year, or an accumulated 15 months of salary over a professional life of 40 years, due to the difference in the Gregorian calendar. Hence, they are claiming, that it is the company that is benefitting from paying their employee’s salaries in accordance with the Gregorian calendar, as they are paying them their end of service.[irp]
A Financial analyst, Hussein Al Raqeeb has stated that the employees should be completely compensated for the losses that have been associated with the payment of salary based upon the Gregorian calendar. Furthermore, the companies should also be counting the age of retirement based upon the number of total years of service in accordance to the Hijri calendar. Al Raqeeb further stated that the payment of salaries based upon the Gregorian calendar will also put pressure upon the employee during the Holy month of Ramadan if the days of the Hijri Calendar and that of the Gregorian calendar do not match.
He also explained that several of the employees are then forced to rely on borrowing money during this holy month, and the companies save around 11 days of payment of salary since the Gregorian calendar is 365 days long, unlike the Hijri calendar that is 354 days long. Al Raqeeb further stated that the government, despite deciding their budget based upon the Gregorian calendar, is issuing salaries to the employees based upon the Hijri calendar. If a company, for example, has 2000 employees, with an average salary per employee of SAR 5000, then the company can save around SAR 3.67 million per annum.
Companies are also paying the salaries on the 31st or the 1st of the following month so that they do not lose days if any employee leaves prior to the end of the month. However, in accordance to Dr. Salem Bajaja, an economist, the conversion of paying the salaries of the employees based upon the Gregorian calendar is extremely important as it is in line with all the international financial systems and is more regular, especially in the banking sector.[irp]
With more than 10 million foreign expatriate workers currently working in the Kingdom, this form of the regulated system of payment allowed for a smooth cash flow as well as compatibility with the international financial systems. The secretary of the media and banking awareness committee, Talaat Hafeez has stated that the role of the banks in issuing the wages is to ensure the total compliance with the agreements held between all the concerned parties and the bank regarding the payment of salaries, regardless of the date.
Source: Arab News