COVID-19: Private sector in Saudi Arabia to suspend work for 15 days

Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development's announcement excludes vital and sensitive infrastructure sectors

Saudi Arabia's private sector to suspend work for 14 days amid COVID-19 [representational image]
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Saudi Arabia's private sector to suspend work for 14 days amid COVID-19 [representational image]

In a move to prevent the spread of the pandemic novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has called for suspension of work across the kingdom’s private sector for a period of 15 days and adopt remote working systems.

The ministry’s announcement excludes “vital sectors” and “sensitive infrastructure sectors, including electricity, water, and communications, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

According to SPA, the ministry also urged private sector companies to reduce the number of employees at its branches, offices, and other facilities to the minimum. With the companies advised to have as many people as necessary to manage the supply chain and carry out work. With this the number of people at work will not exceed 40% of the total workforce at its headquarters.

In doing so, the ministry has also advised companies to implement precautionary measures headlined by the Ministry of Health. This includes a point at the entrance, where temperatures are measured for people working at establishments with employee count exceeding 50.

According to the announcement, the companies are required to apply the mechanisms of remote work, using electronic means and applications, in addition to providing goods and services, as per the remote work guide issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

A compulsory 14-day leave — that should not be deducted from the leave balance — must be granted to employees under the following category including pregnant and lactating women, respiratory diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, and users of immunosuppressive drugs, tumours, chronic diseases, and workers above the age of 55.

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