Saudi Arabia announced yesterday the entry into force of new health and safety regulations to protect workers exposed to the sun during the summer, although the provisional measure creates uncertainty among alleged beneficiaries.
Because temperatures often exceed 50 degrees Celsius during the summer months, mainly July and August in the Saudi kingdom, the legislation provides that benefit to employees through mid-September.
Sources claim governmental regulations presented as evidence for the authorities concern for the welfare and safety of the workers, who are usually Asian expatriates arriving at the country attracted by the higher wages in comparison to their countries.
The measure prohibits labor outdoors from noon to 15:00 local time, and warns of heavy fines or even closure of companies that violate the new law, except for workers in areas such as gas and oil, and emergency maintenance.
The Saudi Labor Ministry said in a statement that it makes efforts to provide a suitable work environment that is safe against all hazards.
However, some employees questioned the effective enforcement of the measure by employers, and others considered it unfavorable to decrease their salaries as they are paid per hour.
UAE announced a similar initiative two weeks ago and Qatar did the same after severe international criticism for the harsh conditions in relation to building facilities for the World Cup 2022.