The Shoura Council is expected to allay the fears of Saudi employees working in the private sector regarding their employment security following the Ministry of Labor’s recent move to amend some clauses in Article 55 of the Labor Law.
As it stands, Article 55 stipulates that a Saudi’s work contract is automatically renewed after three years of his appointment, a local daily reported Sunday.
The essence of the ministry’s proposal suggests that if the contract of a Saudi national is not renewed by the end of the year, then the contract would be terminated. As such, the amendment advocates making work contracts valid for a fixed term and subject to annual renewal for continued validity.
However, Saudi workers fear that if such a proposal is passed and incorporated into the existing law, it would make it easy for an employer to sack a worker by simply not renewing his/her contract at the end of the year.
Another cause of concern for workers is that this amendment may provide a cover for employers to sack a worker for demanding his legitimate rights.
Quoting reliable sources, the daily revealed that the Shoura Council plans to oppose the proposal to amend Article 55 of Labor Law.
Council members are expected to discuss the amendment after the month of Ramadan. The council had earlier rejected the proposal during a preliminary discussion last month.
In a related development, the council is also expected to deliberate next month on the proposal submitted by the Ministry of Labor regarding working hours in the private sector. The ministry has recommended reducing weekly working hours to 40, with eight daily hours of work and two days off per week.
The Human Resources Committee at the council had endorsed a 45-hour week. However, the council refused to endorse that on the grounds that it would contradict the two-day weekend.
In addition, the council is expected to examine other decisions related to curbing unemployment and geared in the efforts to provide sufficient job opportunities for Saudi nationals.
The rate of unemployment among Saudis has fallen drastically since the government launched a campaign to clamp down on illegal workers and the implementation of stringent labor regulations.
The Central Department of Statistics and Information put unemployment among Saudis at 6 and 36 percent respectively for men and women in 2012.