Saudi Arabia Ensures New Rights, Privileges For Night Workers

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The government has regulated night work and outlined rights of those employees who work outside normal hours in a ministerial decree issued by Ahmed Bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, minister of labor and social development, on Friday evening. The new rules will take effect from Jan 1, 2020.

The decree states that night work includes any job done between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while normal working hours include all jobs performed between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m., which represents the main working hours. Employers are responsible for providing night workers with health services, and night workers have a right to present a medical report to clarify whether they are fit to work at night.

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The ministry spokesman said that night workers must be compensated in the form of adjusted working hours, higher wages or similar benefits. He added that the decree outlined cases where night work should be avoided. These include anyone who provides a medical report stating that they are not fit for night hours, pregnant women for the 24 weeks before delivery, and pregnant women who provide medical reports stating they need additional time away from night work to ensure the health of the mother and baby. In these cases, the employer must transfer employees to shifts during normal hours and ensure they have access to food services.

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The spokesman said that the rest period between the end of one working day and the start of the next must not be less than 12 hours, and the maximum duration of night work must not exceed three months. After that, the night worker must be transferred to a normal shift for at least one month, unless the employee wishes to continue working at night. In that case, written consent must be given and kept in his file. The right to withdraw this consent must be protected.

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