Are you looking for an overview of the holidays observed in Saudi Arabia's private sector? With plenty of traditional and religious days off and a diverse culture to explore, understanding the holidays is critical when planning business trips or just wanting to travel around the Kingdom.
Knowing how different industries observe certain dates will give you insight into the workings of daily life while doing business in this unique geographic region. So, let's take a look at what holidays are a part of Saudi's private sector calendar - we guarantee that it will be an educational experience!
Muslims all across the world prepare to celebrate Eid Al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, a joyful and triumphant day when the faithful claim the ultimate prize: their restoration to a state of purity. On this day, prayers are said, kinships are strengthened, and alms are given to the poor.
Eid Al-Fitr is expected to fall on either Friday, April 21, or Sunday, April 22, 2023. According to Saudi labour law, the Eid Al-Fitr holiday begins the following day, Ramadan 29th, and lasts four days. Because the first two days of Eid Al-Fitr fall on the weekend, the holiday will run from April 21st to April 26th this year.
Eid Al-Adha is one of the most important religious festivals celebrated in Saudi Arabia. It is known as the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’, and it honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son as a sign of submission to Allah's command. In Saudi Arabia, the festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm. Eid Al-Adha is observed on the tenth day of Dhu-al-Hijjah, the last (twelfth) month of the Islamic calendar. After the yearly Holy Pilgrimage of Hajj, which is one of the significant Five Pillars of Islam and is required by all Muslims who meet certain requirements, the date of celebrations depends on a valid moon sighting.
The Kingdom's Supreme Court has yet to determine the exact date of Eid Al-Adha 2023. So far, the expected date is on 29th June 2023, with the moon sighting still needing to be conducted around the said date. According to Saudi labour law, all employees are entitled to four days of Eid Al-Adha holiday, starting from Arafat day (ninth day of Dhu-al-Hijjah), 28th June 2023.
Saudi National Day
Saudi National Day is one of the most important and patriotic occasions in Saudi Arabia, and it is celebrated on 23rd of September every year. It is a day of pride, joy, and celebration, and it honours the formation of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the leadership of King Abdulaziz Al Saud.
According to Saudi labour law, employees shall be entitled to the Saudi National Holiday on 23rd September; if this day coincides with a weekend, the employee shall be compensated for by the previous or the following day.
Saudi National Day is celebrated to commemorate the unification of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by King Abdulaziz in 1932. It represents the national identity, culture, and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The day holds immense significance and is a tribute to the vision and leadership of King Abdulaziz, who founded the country.
Saudi Founding Day
The new annual holiday, known as Saudi Arabia's Founding Day, was established by a royal decree issued by King Salman last year 2022, through the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA). According to the statement, the move is intended to celebrate the history of Saudi rule, which dates back hundreds of years. It is not similar to Saudi National Day which is celebrated on 23rd of September.
The Founding Day, 22nd February 1727, is the day for founding the first Saudi State (the founder, Imam Muhammad bin Saud). However, the National Day, 23rd September 1932, is the day for the declaration of Saudi Arabia's union by the unified King Abdulaziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Faisal Al Saud.
Declaring a one-day public holiday for the occasion, the SPA confirmed that 22nd February of every year would be an official holiday for the Saudi Founding Day celebrations for all public, private, and non-profit sectors.
The Saudi State's founding day commemorates three centuries of existence, emphasizing its historical and civilizational depth, honouring its unique cultural legacy, and expressing gratitude to the kings, imams, and citizens who serve the nation.
General Rules of Official Holidays for Private Sector
Rule 1: If the holiday coincides with a weekend, the employee shall be compensated by the previous or the following day.
Let’s take Eid Al-Fitr as an example; since the holiday falls on a weekend (Friday, 21st & Saturday, 22nd April), the employees will be compensated with two additional days. As a result, the holiday will take place from 21st April to 26th April.
Rule 2: If National Day coincides with one of the Eid holidays, the worker will not be compensated.
Rule 3: Every employee is entitled to paid leave for Eid-Al-Fitr, Eid-Al-Adha, Saudi National and Saudi Founding days.
Rule 4: If the annual leave coincides with a public holiday, the annual leave is extended to match the number of public holidays observed during the year.
Stay Up-To-Date With TASC Outsourcing
It's essential for businesses in KSA to be aware of these regulations when it comes to national holidays and other employee entitlements. Employees can be entitled to certain days off as laid out by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD).
At TASC, we are your go-to experts for understanding how to remain compliant with labor laws while running a successful operation in KSA through our HR outsourcing and recruitment services. With over 15+ years of local and global recruitment experience, we stay informed about the latest changes in Saudi labour law so that you can focus on running your business.
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