G20 employment, anti-corruption bodies meet for first time under Saudi Arabia’s presidency

Elsewhere on Thursday, the G20’s group for anti-corruption met in the capital of Riyadh to assess the challenges in reducing the impact of corruption on global gross domestic product. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 February 2020

G20 employment, anti-corruption bodies meet for first time under Saudi Arabia’s presidency

  • Discussions will continue at the next meeting in April ahead of the Employment Ministers’ Meeting in September 2020
  • NAZAHA president Mazen Al-Kahmous said the Kingdom has held many discussions on anti-corruption

JEDDAH: The G20’s Employment Working Group (EWG) met for the first time under Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20.

Building on its target of reducing youth unemployment by 15 percent by 2025, the group of representatives from the G20 member countries discussed youth unemployment and data-driven policymaking.

In 2020, the EWG will focus on three key priorities: Youth unemployment, transitional social protection and behavioral insights for a transitioning labor market, it was announced by the Saudi chair Ahmed Alzahrani during Thursday’s meeting.

Discussions will continue at the next meeting in April ahead of the Employment Ministers’ Meeting in September 2020.

Elsewhere on Thursday, the G20’s group for anti-corruption met in the capital of Riyadh to assess the challenges in reducing the impact of corruption on global gross domestic product.

The Anti-Corruption Working Group (ACWG)’s chair, Dr. Nassar Abaalkhail, highlighted the importance of continuing to address corruption and promoting integrity and accountability in order to foster growth.

He also asserted that the ACWG will continue to pursue international cooperation on many global anti-corruption challenges including asset recovery, foreign bribery, and beneficial ownership transparency.

The G20 agreed on the Anti-Corruption 2019-2021 Action Plan in Buenos Aires in 2018. In the framework of this plan, G20 members will also look forward to developing targeted actions where the G20 can best add value in promoting international efforts in the fight against corruption.

Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (NAZAHA) president Mazen Al-Kahmous said the Kingdom has held many discussions on anti-corruption, with the participation of international experts from the public and private sectors and civil society institutions, to enrich knowledge on these issues, in preparation for setting higher principles to be approved by the ministers concerned with fighting corruption in the G20.


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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