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Ministry's decision will harm Saudization, fear businessmen

14 February 17

Saudi Gazette

Businessmen said the Ministry of Labor and Social Development's decision to prevent companies from firing a great number of Saudis will discourage the private sector from employing Saudis, Al-Madina reported.

Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry member Abdulaziz Al-Sirai said the Ministry of Labor and Social Development issued a decision to prevent private companies from firing a great number of Saudi staff in one go.

“If a private company would like to fire a number of Saudi employees in one go, the company must firstly receive the approval of the ministry. The company must apply to the ministry with the notice of firing a number of Saudi employees 60 days prior to the date the employees are requested to leave the company,” said Al-Sirai.

He also said the company should include in its notice its capital and financial status in addition to the reason for firing the Saudi employees.

“The company is also required to include the names of the Saudi employees to be fired. The ministry also announced that it will penalize any company which violates the procedure. The ministry’s new decision will discourage private companies from employing Saudis in the first place as the process of dealing with Saudi employees seems more threatening than dealing with non-Saudi employees,” said Al-Sirai.

He also said the ministry’s decision could, thus, negatively affect the move toward Saudization.

“The ministry could have given rewards to private companies for employing Saudis instead of punishing them for firing Saudi employees. The ministry could have given support and rewards to companies which have not fired any Saudi employee for a year,” said Al-Sirai.

He also said the ministry could have also decreased the required bonuses and additional allowances given to employees to lift the financial burden on the private companies.

“The decision will also hinder the pace of growth for the private sector. Some employers may fire Saudi employees one by one instead of many at one go,” said Al-Sirai.

Technology sector investor Rashid Bin Zoumah said the ministry could have been more encouraging to companies which are employing Saudis.

“The ministry could have decreased the required daily work hours,” said Bin Zoumah.

Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Food Products Committee Wasif Kabli said the Ministry of Labor and Social Development should regulate the labor market and stop illegal issuance of work visas.

“The ministry’s decision to penalize companies for firing a large number of Saudis will discourage companies from employing Saudis and that will affect the Saudization policy negatively. The ministry could have put in place more encouraging and rewarding policies,” said Kabli.
 
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