Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has issued a decision to regulate the contractual relationship between employees and employers in view of the special circumstances created by the impact of the new Coronavirus (Covid-19).
According to the decision, once the government has taken steps 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, agree with the employee, within 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, a Saudi Press Agency report said.
However, following this, the termination of his/her work contract is not legal once it becomes evident that the employer has benefited from any government subsidy to deal with this situation, the ministry said.
In addition to that, the employee will have the right to terminate his/her work contract, it added.
The ministry also has allowed firms to benefit from the services of off-labour-market expatriates through the "Ajeer" portal as an alternative to recruiting from abroad.