The Saudi government has sanctioned rules governing overtime work for employees in state institutions. The decree, disclosed in the Saudi Official Gazette Umm Al Qura, permits public institutions with independent administrative and financial regulations to assign certain employees to work beyond official hours and during official holidays, including the Muslim feasts of Al Fitr and Al Adha, without requiring separate approval requests.
The Council of Ministers’ decree outlines specific guidelines for assigning overtime work. Assignments must align with the financial and administrative regulations endorsed by the institutions’ boards of directors. Additionally, in coordination with the ministries of finance and human resources, each institution must establish controls ensuring that the assignment is based on the essential needs of the work.
The decree emphasizes that financial allocations resulting from these assignments should be sourced from the institutions’ budgets, without imposing an additional financial burden on the state budget.
Saudi Arabia, with a population of approximately 32.2 million, hosts a substantial foreign worker community. In recent years, the country has focused on labor market regulation and enhancing its appeal. In 2020, significant labor reforms were introduced, transforming the sponsorship system. These reforms, enacted the following year, facilitate job mobility and regulate the issuance of exit and re-entry visas for expatriate workers without the need for employer approval.
Employee mobility enables expatriate workers to transition between employers at the end of the binding work contract without requiring employer consent. The exit and re-entry visa reforms allow expatriate workers to travel outside Saudi Arabia without employer approval after submitting a request.