RIYADH, Feb 4 – The Shoura Council on Monday stood by its earlier decision to provide the two-day weekend in the private sector.
The consultative body’s session, presided over by its Assistant President, Fahaad Al-Hamad, rejected the amendment brought forward by 16 members of the body to review its earlier decision and to give only one day off instead of two.
Al-Hamad recalled that the council made an earlier decision to allow private sector employees to work for 40 hours a week and 35 hours during Ramadan. “We are now sticking to our earlier decision because of its multifarious benefits to both employees and to the private sector,” he stressed.
The majority of the council members felt that a 40-hour workweek is a global trend that is followed by most member states of the International Labor Organization.
Al-Hamad said the house realized that a 40-hour week has produced positive results in maintaining a conducive healthy environment for better work output among employees.
A study conducted by the ILO in 2006 revealed that a 40-hour week would result in an increase in productivity.
Members also argued that an increase in working hours would not attract Saudi youths to the private sector. “It would reduce the number of people working for the private sector,” they said, adding that long working hours would lead to frustration and discomfort among workers.
Members who opposed the two-day weekend said that such a situation would lead to economic losses in the private sector.
“A 40-hour work week would increase the cost of production and also contribute to a 30-percent increase in house rents,” the opponents said, adding that a reduction in working hours would translate into a delay in completing projects on time. Arab News