Saudi Arabia committed to “25 by 25” to reduce the gap in labor market

A session on "Approaching Challenges from Different Perspective" of the T20 Inception Conference in Riyadh. (AN photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Updated 21 January 2020

Saudi Arabia committed to “25 by 25” to reduce the gap in labor market

  • The G20 engagement groups share common areas of interest in the pursuit of their specific objectives including women, youth and sustainable development

RIYADH: Reducing the gender gap in labor participation is a moral imperative as well as a key for growth and sustainable development, which is why G20 countries have committed to reduce the gap in women’s labor participation 25 percent by 2025.

Speaking at a session called “Approaching challenges from different perspectives” on the concluding day of the T20 Inception Conference in Riyadh on Monday, Thoraya Obaid, chair of the W20 engagement group, said: “The G20 countries have committed to increasing women’s participation 25 percent by 2025. We in the Kingdom have also adopted this in our Saudi Vision 2030 Program.”

The G20 engagement groups share common areas of interest in the pursuit of their specific objectives including women, youth and sustainable development.

Princess Nouf bint Mohammed of the C20 engagement group highlighted the importance of civil society taking commitments and promises seriously, and fulfilling its promises with implementation and accountability.

“Civil Society is our heart and soul, we are the people on the ground, and provide support to reach our goals,” she said.

“Together with other engagement groups, we have all adopted a joint statement to work in the pursuit of specific objectives. I think where we can make it big collectively is on the climate issue.”

Othman Al-Moamar, of Y20 engagement group, said: “Young people are the most important component in today’s technology driven world, therefore more young people in entrepreneurship means more prosperity, and opportunities.”

Highlighting their role, Nasser Al-Jaryad of L20 engagement group said: “Our aim is empowering people, guaranteeing minimum living wages and collective bargaining, promoting social dialogue for social cohesion, and ending corporate monopolies.

“We also take all possible actions to improve the progressiveness of taxation system,” he added.

Abdulmohsen Al-Ghanam of U20 engagement group said their themes represented common challenges and aspirations of global cities.

The session was moderated by Abdullah Al-Saud, member of the T20 steering committee and director of research at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
 

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Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours

Updated 07 April 2020

Saudi employers given green light to cut wages, hours

  • But businesses hit by coronavirus can change contracts only with employees’ consent, ministry says

JEDDAH: Saudi private-sector employers whose businesses have been crippled by the coronavirus pandemic have been told they can cut their employees’ wages and working hours.

But they may do so only with the employees’ consent, and the reduced wages must accurately reflect the number of hours worked, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said.

The ministry also moved to allay fears among some private sector staff, both Saudi and expatriate, that unscrupulous employers could use the coronavirus crisis to exploit their workers.

“Workers can report any violation through the ministry’s website, channels and social media platforms,” Saad Al-Hammad, director of Human Resources Affairs at the ministry, told
Arab News.

In addition, employers who have benefited from state subsidies, such as the SR9 billion ($2.4 billion) fund created last week to compensate Saudi workers for the effects of the pandemic, may not terminate employment contracts. Employees, however, retain the right to do so.

The ministry said its aim was to protect employees from dismissal or loss of contractual benefits during the pandemic. It would continue to regulate the labor market, mitigate the economic effects of the virus outbreak on the private sector and protect the interests of both parties in the labor relationship, it said.

Saudi legal counsel Dimah Talal Al-Sharif said amending the contractual relationship between employer and employee in this way was permissible under the legal concept known as “force majeure,” which applied to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The ministerial decision aims to limit any attempt to tamper with people’s rights as employees, and to define the limits that both parties must agree on first, while also reflecting the reality,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.

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