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Saudi ministry bans working in sun
Ministerial decree preventing companies from making employees work under the sun between 12 and 3 in July and August in force from next year.
June 8, 2010 3:32 by Samuel Potter
Minister of Labor Dr. Ghazi Al-Ghosaibi on Monday issued a ministerial decree preventing companies from making their employees work under the sun from 12 noon until 3 p.m. from the beginning of July through the end of August every year, starting 2011.
The decree exempts those who work in the petroleum and gas industry and those who carry out emergency maintenance and repairs.
It, however, said measures must be taken to protect these workers from the hot sun.
The ministry warned companies and organizations that fail to implement the decision that they risk being fined, shut down or both.
Deputy Minister of Labor Abdul Wahid Al-Humaid said the move is in line with international labor laws to protect workers and provide them with safe and healthy working environments. “The ministry is keen to protect all workers — both Saudis and expatriates — who work under the direct heat of the sun from health problems that might be caused by the sun, especially in the summer months,” he added.
Al-Humaid said the ministry has given employers an entire year to prepare themselves before the decision is executed.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor has launched a new website that allows companies to register their newly arrived laborers online.
It also gives them the chance to get new licenses and pay fees online,” said Mufrj Al-Huqbani, undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor. “This online service is there in part to ease the time it takes people to complete procedures such as registering their workers, especially new workers,” he added.
The new website could lead to an end to the role of muaqibs (men employed by companies to expedite paperwork at government offices). The online services are presently available to companies with more than 1,000 employees. They will, subsequently, be available to companies with over 500 employees and then others.
“This will improve work flow in labor offices, especially when labor offices are overcrowded, something that adds to delays in how companies operate,” said Mohi Al-Din Y. Hakami from the JCCI.