Saudi Arabia raises minimum wages for citizens to $1066

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Saudi Arabia
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The Saudi Arabia Ministry of human resources and social development has stated that it would increase the monthly minimum wage for the Kingdom’s citizens by 33 percent.

According to the statement of Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, the minister of human resources and social development the minimum wages for citizens have been raised to $1,066. As per the data from the Nitaqat program for organizations, half of the Saudi employees were previously paid between the minimum wage of $799 and $1066.

The Nitaqat program was introduced as part of the Saudization in the kingdom in 2011 to increase the percentage of citizen’s employment in the private sector. Under the scheme organizations will be ranked based on their compliance with quotas and classifies into three bands. Companies with a higher rating get higher immigration benefits where those with a lower rating will confront tougher restrictions.

A business executive in Jeddah Yasser Al Bukhari states that this minimum wage rise is great news for the citizens who have been struggling during the pandemic. “The increase in salaries was much needed at this time, it’s such a relief,” he added

As per the Nitaqat program, part-time workers or employees with a minimum salary of $799 and insurance are only considered as half of an employee. With this new increment, the companies will be more encouraged to hire employees for part-time or a flexible working system.

“I usually need to outsource specialists, volunteers and freelance consultants for events and now this gives us more confidence and assurance that we can have more Saudis join the team and improve our status under the Nitaqat program,” says Al Bukhari.

The Nitaqat program will now consider the employees working under the flexible system or as part-time if they complete a total of 168 working hours.

“This is a great move for employees and employers alike. We never had a chance to work part-time and now freelancers will find more jobs since firms want to maintain the Saudi quota under Nitaqat,” said Abdullah Firas, a freelancer in Jeddah.