Saudi Arabia will pay 60 percent of its workers wages to prevent mass lay-offs

World Grigory Matyunin 03-Apr-2020
View of Kigdom tower and Riyadh from Faisaliah tower, Saudi Arabia. © Elgru |

In a bid to prevent mass lay-offs, Saudi King Salman has announced a 9 billion riyal package to compensate private-sector workers amidst the global pandemic.

“Instead of terminating the employment of a Saudi citizen, the employer has the right to ask social insurance to disburse as compensation 60 percent of his salary over a period of three months, with a maximum limit of nine thousand riyals (per employee) and with a total value of up to 9 billion riyals,” Reuters reports citing Saudi state media.

Compensation will be paid in line with the country’s unemployment insurance system (SANID) to which Saudi workers contribute over the course of their careers. The system covers all Saudi employees who work in corporations employing under five workers and 70 percent of those working for larger companies.

Last month, Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan announced an emergency stimulus package which has included a pledge to waive or suspend certain fees and taxes.

Saudi Arabia’s death toll from covid-19 stands at 25 with 2,039 confirmed infections. On Wednesday, Muhammad Saleh bin Taher Banten, the minister for Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, warned Muslims to avoid booking any tours for the Hajj pilgrimage. The holy sites of Mecca and Medina have been closed off, a step that was not even taken during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic.