Working Hours and Overtime Calculation in Saudi Arabia

Working Hours and Overtime are normally not covered by the contract but Saudi Labor Law protects all the employees working in Saudi Arabia. I have seen violations especially in the case of working hours and overtime in numerous companies.

It is very important that you know about your rights in order to claim it. In my previous company, the overtime was rate was lesser than what is approved by the Saudi Labor Law.

This violation was not highlighted by any of the employees. Had it been highlighted, we would have increased the overtime rates of employees. So, it is very important that you know about your rights. Recommended: Rights of Employees under Saudi Labor Law

48 Working Hours in a Week: There are 48 working hours allowed in a week. If your employer is asking you to work more than that, you are actually entitled to overtime. (Article 98 of Saudi Labor Law)

There are 8 working hours allowed in a day. If your employer is asking you to work more than that, you are actually entitled to overtime. (Article 98 of Saudi Labor Law)

An employer cannot ask employees to work more than 5 hours consecutively without giving them break of at least 30 minutes. It means there must be a break after every five hours. (Article 101 of Saudi Labor Law)

The break time, prayer time or any other rest period in which employee is not under the authority of employer shall not be included in the working hours.

Overtime at a rate of 150% of normal rate: The employer shall pay the worker overtime at a rate of 150% of the normal wage rate. (Article 107 of Saudi Labor Law)

Some firms work on weekly hour’s basis. In this case, hours worked in addition to 48 working hours will be paid as overtime.

If employers ask you to work on holidays, national holiday, Eid or Hajj holidays, you are entitled to overtime at the rate prescribed above.

Working Hours in Ramadan: However, in the month of Ramadan, Article 98 of Saudi Labor Law reduces the working hours to 36 hours a week and maximum 6 hours a day.

It means people who are getting two off days in a week will be having maximum 30 working hours a week in Ramadan.

If there is any additional work to perform, you are entitled to overtime as per the rate prescribed in above paragraph.

It only applies to the Muslim workers. There is no time relaxation for Non-Muslim workers living in Saudi Arabia.

However, generally, companies set the timing for all Muslims and Non-Muslim workers to be 6 hours.

Exceptions to Overtime: Overtime rules will not be applied to the person occupying a high position in management.

 An employee whose position gives him authority over workers

Illustration: If someone's basic salary is SR 3,000/- and he has worked for 100 extra hours in a month. Calculation of overtime will be as follows.

  • Per day wages: 3000 / 30 = SR 100/-
  • Working Hours: 8 Hours
  • Wages per Hour: 100 / 8 = SR 12.50
  • Overtime per Hour: 12.5 X 1.5 = SR 18.75/-
  • Total Overtime: 18.75 X 100 = SR 1,875/-

It is very important to mention here that overtime is calculated only on Basic Salary. Secondly, if you are working from 8 to 5 and having one-hour lunch break, your working hours are 8.

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