As part of its role to provide support for the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government to control the implications of the new Coronavirus, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has issued a decision to regulate the contractual relationship between employees and employers in these special circumstances.
According to the decision, once the government has taken measures to tackle a certain case or circumstance necessitating reducing the working hours, or taking precautionary measures to limit the aggravation of that case or situation, described as "force majeure", in paragraph 5 of Article 74 of the labor law, the Ministry allows the employer to, first of all, agree with the employee, within the six months following the start of the enforcement of these procedures, on either reducing the employee’s wage to adjust with the actual work hours, or granting the employee a local leave to be deducted from his/her deserved annual vacation, or granting him/her an exceptional leave, according to Article 116 of the labor law. However, following this, the termination of his/her work contract is not legitimate once it became evident that the employer has benefited from any government subsidy to deal with this situation. In addition to that, the employee will have the right to terminate his/her work contract.
The Ministry also allows a temporary benefit from the services of off-labor-market expatriates through the "Ajeer" portal as an alternative to recruiting from abroad, as the Ministry aims through this decision to protect workers during such circumstances from being terminated or losing their contractual benefits. The portal will soon offer the businesses to publish names of their excess workers.