All About Working Hours In Saudi Arabia As Per Labour Law

working hours in Saudi Arabia

Employers who want to expand to KSA must follow the employment rules established in this country. One of the most important ones is the working hours in Saudi Arabia, as workers cannot exceed what is regulated.

In this article, you are going to learn more about Saudi working hours and how you can ensure compliance as an employer. In addition, you will understand about other matters surrounding working hours in Saudi Arabia, such as overtime and Ramadan regulations.

Standard Working Hours: Understanding the 8-Hour/48-Hour Rule

working hours in Saudi Arabia

Foreign employers that want to set up their businesses in KSA must do extensive research regarding local employment regulations so they can stay in compliance.

In this regard, every country has its set of regulations regarding employment. In Saudi Arabia, the main statute that governs employment relations is the Royal Decree No M/51 of 23 Sha’ban 1426 Hejra, which is the Labor Law.

It contains several provisions regarding employee and employer’s rights and duties. The working hours in Saudi Arabia are regulated by this law and are established as follows:

  • Standard working hours per day: 8 hours.
  • Standard working hours per week: 48 hours.
  • Working week (standard): from Saturday or Sunday to Thursday.

According to the working hours Saudi labor law, an employee cannot work more than 8 hours per day, and the working week should not be more than 6 days. For this reason, the rule is 8hr/48hr.

Also, working hours in Saudi Arabia should be included in your employment contract. Therefore, you should follow the tips for drafting a strong employment contract if you do not want to face issues of non-compliance.

It is worth mentioning that employees have to comply with the established working hours so they can get their salaries. Thus, if you are looking for an average salary in Saudi Arabia, you need to understand how many hours you have to work per day.

Exceptions and Flexibilities: When Can Working Hours Change?

The working hours in Saudi Arabia are established in the law. However, as an employer, you have to understand that sometimes, it may change. For instance, an employee may request a leave, or there may be a regulation that instructs employers to reduce working hours.

The law in KSA also supports employees in many different ways, for instance, when they need to leave work due to sickness. In this case, the employee has to follow the regulations for sick leave as per the updated Saudi Labor Law.

There is another exception for employees who are facing an unpredictable crisis and they have to leave work for an emergency. Thus, in this case, employees have to follow the rules for emergency leave according to the labour law.

In this case, Saudi labour law working hours are flexible and they may change due to the following reasons:

  • Annual inventory activities
  • Preparation for seasonal sales or discounts
  • Liquidation
  • Work to prevent a hazardous accident
  • Eid or Ramadan

It is worth mentioning that even though there are these exceptions, the total working hours should not exceed 12 hours per day or 60 hours per week.

There are also additional exceptions, depending on the type of work the company carries out, such as the following:

  • Employees who do not work continuously, such as those belonging to certain industries or jobs, may work 9 hours per day.
  • Employees who work in harmful industries or jobs may work 7 hours per day.
  • Companies where employees work on shifts may increase the total working hours per day as long as during a 3-week period the average working hours per day do not exceed 8 hours.

Ramadan Regulations: Working Hours During the Holy Month

The Holy Month is very special for Muslims. Since Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country, foreign employers have to follow the traditions of their religion.

For this reason, the working hours in Saudi Arabia are affected during Ramadan. This way, employees can celebrate this season with their relatives. According to the regulations, during Ramadan, the working hours in Saudi labour law are the following:

  • Working hours per day: cannot exceed 6 hours
  • Working hours per week: cannot exceed 36 hours

It is important to point out that this regulation applies to Muslim workers. For a foreign employer, this regulation may seem unusual. But it is important to respect the law, as this reduction in working hours is already established.

Overtime: Pay and Regulations

In addition to the working hours in Saudi Arabia, employees can work overtime according to the Saudi Labor System. The term “overtime” refers to those hours exceeding the total working hours per day.

For instance, if working hours in Saudi Arabia should not exceed 8 hours per day, those hours worked after that total are considered overtime. As such, once the employee exceeds the standard working hours it is calculated as overtime.

Additionally, if an employee works during a holiday, Eid day or rest day, it should be considered overtime.

According to the law, the total overtime per day should not be more than 3 hours, for a total of 11 hours worked.

Lastly, the pay for the overtime hours is established in the Labor Law as follows:

  • Overtime hour pay: hourly wage + 50% basic wage.

Employee Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Your Options

working hours in Saudi Arabia

Employees should also be aware of the regulations regarding working hours in Saudi Arabia. This is because this way you can know your rights and ensure your employer does not abuse you.

For instance, employers and employees have to agree on working overtime, as it is not mandatory. In addition to the working hours in Saudi for private sector, employees have the following rights:

  • Breaks: according to the new working hours in KSA, employees cannot work more than 5 consecutive hours without a break. Also, the break cannot be less than 30 minutes.
  • Rest days: in KSA, the common rest day for employees is Friday. Every employee has the right to a rest day that should last no less than 24 hours, and it should be fully paid.
  • Public holidays: employees in KSA can enjoy the public holidays established by the country, and the employer cannot force an employee to work during these days. However, if the employee agrees to work, they should receive compensation as if it was overtime.

Keep in mind that, as an employer, you have to pay your employees for all the hours they have worked for your company. Thus, be aware there is a ruling on delaying salaries in the Saudi Labor Law.


Employment relations are a challenge in every country around the world. Particularly for foreign employers, who have to learn about local regulations and follow what is established in the law.

When it comes to working hours in Saudi Arabia, employers have to tell employees about their rights and always have clear communication when they need a worker to do overtime. Every hour worked outside of the standard should be agreed upon between both parties.

In addition, it is important to keep an accurate record of your employees’ working hours, especially when it comes to Saudi labour law working hours overtime. This is because you need to decrease the likelihood of errors when running your payroll.

Thus, if you need support with payroll management, you can always contact a team of experts to help you. Contact us now to let us know how we can help you with your payroll processing and we can be your working hours in Saudi calculator.

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