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JEDDAH: The Saudi government has moved to regulate night work and outline employee rights for those who work outside normal hours in the Kingdom. Ahmed bin Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the minister of labor and social development, issued a ministerial decree defining night work, and clarifying the responsibilities and rights of employees at their workplaces.
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.
Ministry of Labor and Social Development spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail said the term “night worker” refers to anyone whose job requires them to work for at least three hours during the night work period specified by the decree.
Employers are responsible for providing night workers with health services, and night workers have a right to present their workplace with a medical report to clarify whether they are fit work at night.
“If a worker’s health does not allow him to work during the night, he must be transferred to work on a day shift for the same number of hours,” Aba Al-Khail said.
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.
The ministry spokesman said that night workers must be compensated in the form of adjusted working hours, higher wages or similar benefits.
“Night workers must be provided with a suitable transportation allowance for night work, appropriate means of transport when other transport services are not available, or compensation for transport charges,” he said.
“In addition, night workers must receive an allowance suitable for the nature of their night work, or the actual working hours of night work must be reduced while maintaining the same weight as the normal working hours, benefits and benefits earned.
“The establishment must also protect the rights of night workers and ensure equality with employees of normal working hours through providing training, qualification, seniority, promotions and so on,” he added.
Aba Al-Khail 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 hours 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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