Shoura Council of Saudi Arabia approved 40 working hours in a week on December 19, 2013. (Reported by Arab News) It created so much excitement for the expatriates and Saudis living in Saudi Arabia. They started planning about different things. Earlier they used to work for 48 hours in a week, now they were thinking that 8 weekly hours will be reduced from their weekly schedule and they will continue to receive the same amount of Salary. In fact, they were planning to get overtime as well due to mandatory reduced working hours. If you have seen that news in Arab News, there is no clarification in it about the segment of workforce upon which it is applied. We have explained about it in detail at the later part of the article.
News Channels never stop to excite expatriates living in Saudi Arabia and keep on posting encouraging news about the matter of having 40 hours week soon. Arab News published news giving the expatriate community living in Saudi Arabia a new hope about enjoying 40 hours weekend. You can read about this news in this link “40 Hours week for Private Sector to be approved”. Expatriates have been raising several questions if they are going to have this facility soon? I have tried to clear their mind in this article.
Weekly working hours for all the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia is 48 hours and the above mentioned Royal Decree only applies to the Government Sector. Government Sector employees used to enjoy a week of 45 hours before December 19, 2013, whereas private sector employees had to work for 48 hours. Similarly, now the working hours for Government employees have been reduced from 45 to 40 hours. It did not affect upon the weekly working hours of the expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. They will continue to work for 48 hours in a week. If they work for more than this, they will be getting overtime. If you want to read in detail about the working hours and overtime in Saudi Arabia, please read this article. “Working Hours and Overtime”.
As far as Arab News article about 40 hours week for the private sector is concerned, I personally feel that it is second to impossible in the current tough economic situation. There have been many labor law violations regarding 48 working hours week, many employers don’t pay their employees on a timely basis. I don’t think overburdening the private sector with 40 working hours can be a good idea.