Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia introduces new fines for labour law breaches

The fines will target businesses that attempt to misuse the granting of government subsidies or contravene labour laws over pay and working hours

People walk while wearing face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at the Red Sea beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. AP
People walk while wearing face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at the Red Sea beach in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. AP

Saudi Arabia this week imposed new fines on private businesses that breached a royal decree upholding labour laws and it said that a cut in pay should mean a cut in working hours.

The kingdom amended its labour laws in April in response to the threat of job losses during the coronavirus pandemic, limiting the scope employers had to dismiss employees and reduce their benefits.

The law now stipulates that an employer and worker can agree to a reduction of salary for a period of six months provided that there is also a reduction in working hours.

Companies that break the new laws will be fined between 9,752 and 48,760 riyals (Dh9,550 and Dh47,750), said the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, depending on the number of employees whose rights were breached.

Employers who benefited from government subsidies to help ease the impact of coronavirus will not be able to dismiss staff between April 2020 and October 2020.

Saudi Arabia’s coronavirus infections passed 200,000 last week, with the number of new cases climbing after the government lifted all movement restrictions that had been in place since mid-March last month.

The total number of cases is now 232,259 and there were 2,223 fatalities.

Updated: July 13, 2020 09:34 PM

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