Saudi Arabia’s Working Hours A Comprehensive Overview

Saudi Arabia’s Working Hours. Saudi Arabia,sa prominent nation in the Middle East, is known for its rich cultural heritage, bustling economy, and diverse workforce. Like any other country, it has specific working hours regulations and guidelines to ensure employee well-being, productivity, and work-life balance.

Understanding Saudi Arabia’s working hours is essential for employees and employers, as it impacts the work-life balance, productivity, and overall quality of life.

Working Hour Regulations in Saudi Arabia:

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social growth regulates the standard working hours in Saudi Arabia. According to Saudi labour law, the maximum working hours for employees are eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. However, these hours can be extended to 12 hours per day for specific industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and security, provided employees are compensated accordingly.

Working Hour Regulations in Saudi Arabia:

The Standard Working Week

The Saudi Arabian Labor Law regulates the standard working week in Saudi Arabia, which establishes a maximum of 48 hours per week for most employees. The law stipulates that these 48 hours should be divided into six working days, eight hours per day. This translates to a typical work schedule of Sunday through Thursday, with a maximum of eight hours daily.

Exceptions and Variations

While the general rule is a 48-hour workweek, some exceptions and variations apply to specific sectors and industries. For example, employees working in health care, security, transportation, and other essential services may be required to work longer hours due to the nature of their work. These employees are often compensated with overtime pay or additional time off following the labour law.

Ramadan Working Hours

During the holy month of Ramadan, the working hours in Saudi Arabia undergo specific adjustments. The labour law states that the maximum working hours during Ramadan should be reduced to six hours per day or 36 hours per week for Muslims. This reduction is intended to accommodate the fasting period and promote a more relaxed and reflective atmosphere during the month.

Mid-Day Break

Saudi Arabia recognizes the significance of providing a mid-day break to ensure the well-being and productivity of workers, particularly in extreme climatic conditions. As per the labour law, employees must be given a gap of at least one hour after working five consecutive hours. This break allows individuals to rest, rejuvenate, and eat before resuming work, particularly during the hotter months.

Cultural Aspects and Flexibility

Cultural norms and practices can also influence Saudi Arabia’s working hours. The kingdom adheres to Islamic principles and observes Friday as the weekly day off. Additionally, prayer times are an essential consideration, and employees are typically allowed to take short breaks to perform their daily prayers, which can enhance productivity and reflect the country’s cultural values.

Overtime and Rest Periods

Employees who work beyond the standard hours are entitled to overtime pay, usually 150% of the regular hourly wage. Additionally, for every five continuous working hours, employees are entitled to a rest period of at least 30 minutes. This provision ensures employees have adequate time to recharge and maintain their well-being during the workday.

Overtime and Rest Periods

Weekend and Public Holidays

In Saudi Arabia, the weekend falls on Friday and Saturday, with Friday being the official rest day. However, some industries, such as healthcare and essential services, may have different working schedules due to operational requirements. Public holidays, including religious and national holidays, are observed throughout the country. Employees are entitled to receive paid leave during these holidays, and if required to work, they are compensated with additional pay or given a replacement day off.

Benefits of Regulated Working Hours:

Employee Well-being

By setting limitations on working hours, Saudi Arabia aims to prioritise employee health and well-being. Adequate rest periods and reasonable working hours contribute to better physical and mental health, reducing the risk of burnout and stress-related issues.

Work-Life Balance

The regulated working hours allow employees to balance their professional and personal lives. This balance enhances overall job satisfaction and productivity and fosters harmonious family relationships.

Increased Productivity

Research has shown that overworked employees experience decreased productivity and increased errors. By enforcing reasonable working hours, Saudi Arabia promotes a more efficient and productive workforce, ultimately benefiting employers and employees.

Future Developments

Saudi Arabia has been undergoing economic reforms as part of its Vision 2030 initiative, aimed at diversifying the economy and reducing reliance on oil revenues. This transformation includes improving the work environment and promoting a healthy work-life balance. As part of these changes, there have been discussions about introducing a flexible working system, including remote work and flexible working hours. Such developments would cater to the changing needs and aspirations of the workforce while maintaining productivity and efficiency.


Saudi Arabia’s working hour regulations provide a framework that prioritises employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The country promotes a more productive and healthier workforce by establishing limitations on working hours. Employees benefit from reduced stress levels, increased job satisfaction, and enhanced personal lives. On the other hand, employers witness higher productivity, lower absenteeism rates, and improved overall performance. Both employers and employees must familiarise themselves with the regulations


Q1. Can an employee work more than the specified hours if they agree to do so?

Yes, an employee can voluntarily agree to work additional hours, but the employer must provide appropriate compensation, adhering to the overtime regulations.

Q2. Are there any exceptions to the standard working hours?

Yes, specific industries, such as healthcare, transportation, and security, have exceptions to the standard working hours due to the nature of their operations.

Q3. Can an employee refuse to work overtime?

Employees can refuse overtime work if it exceeds the maximum allowed hours or is against their contractual agreement. However, they should communicate their concerns to the employer professionally.

Q4. Are there any restrictions on working hours for specific groups of employees, such as women or minors?

Yes, there are specific provisions for the working hours of women and minors. Women are entitled to certain protections, such as night work restrictions, which vary by industry. Children below the age of 18 have limitations on the number of hours they can work per day and the types of tasks they can perform, in line with international labor standards and child labor regulations.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This file is for domain verification. copyright