Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Understanding Saudi Midday Work Ban

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Saudi Arabia’s extreme temperature has become one of the main reasons it is tough to work in the Kingdom’s environment. While electricity is cheap and offices and homes are well equipped with cooling facilities, those working in the field such as petroleum rigs, construction sites and airport runways have to endure terrible working conditions.

That is why it doesn’t come as a surprise that Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry implemented a ban on outdoor work from noon until 3pm. The ban is in effect from certain dates in June until September when intense Saudi summer season is at its peak. Thousands of workers, especially in the construction sector, will benefit from the ban which provides them respite from the excessive heat exposure during midday. However, those in oil and gas industries and those involved in emergency maintenance work (power failure, water leaks, etc) are exempt from the policy although adequate measures are in place to protect such workers, the ministry assured.

The labor ministry added that a zero-tolerance policy will be strictly enforced to make sure all employers comply with the ban. Violators will face fines of up to 10,000 SAR for each violation. Penalties could include revocation of operating permits. A total of 280 companies were reported last year for failing to comply with the work ban.

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A hotline has been set up to receive complaints and an inspection agency will follow through for appropriate action. Any complaints can be channeled through +966 1 2006666.

If found in violation by inspectors, companies face fines ranging between SAR3,000 ($800) and SAR10,000 ($2,666) as well as the closure of the business for 30 days.

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