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New Labor Law clause irks Saudis

9 February 17

Saudi Gazette

Many Saudis are calling for revoking Article 77 of the Labor Law which allows the private sector to terminate contracts at any time by providing compensation to sacked employees.

Sheikh Abdullah Al-Asheikh, president of the Shoura Council, said at a meeting that 800 petitions have been filed with the Council raising concern about Article 77 of the Labor Law.

According to Nihad Al-Jishi, deputy head of the human rights committee at the Shoura Council, the article has resulted in a number of arbitrary terminations, with many low-income employees being affected.

She said that people will feel relieved if the article is repealed.

Columnist Khalid Al-Sulaiman said the previous Labor Law protected Saudi employees. But the new article makes the employer-employee relationship productivity-based.

He called for the withdrawal of the article until it is studied and revised.

Samia Bukari, a Shoura member, suggested that the compensation amount should be increased and labor violations committees should be mandated to deal with such issues as was the case earlier.

However, Ahmed Al-Harsani wrote in his column in Makkah newspaper that Article 77 brings back balance in the employer-employee relationship.

He explained that if the employee is over protected it reduces his productivity.

“The article has made it easy to dismiss an employee, but at the same time it has clearly specified his rights. Therefore, there is no need to contact labor committees,” Al-Harsani wrote.

He, however, suggested that employers must be monitored to make sure that they pay compensation to employees.
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