Saudi schools close after minimum pay rule

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At least 13 private schools in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah have laid off their staff and shut down as they cannot comply with a Ministry of Labour decision to introduce a minimum wage for Saudi teachers, it was reported.

The royal decree, issued last year, dictates that Saudi teachers in private schools must be paid a minimum monthly wage of SAR5,600 (US$1,493), backdated from when they joined, according to Saudi Gazette.

However, several schools were unable to meet the payments and were under threat from the Ministry of Education, which began to take punitive action in December against institutions which had failed to implement the policy.

For schools not meeting the new stipulations, a written warning would be issued in the first instance. If the school still did not respond within a month, the enrollment of teachers in said school would be delayed for two weeks at the start of the academic year. If the school still did not respond, it would be fined SAR5,000 (US$1,333) for every teacher working at the school, and finally the Ministry of Education would tell the Ministry of Labour to close down the school by the end of the academic year.

Malik Bin Talib, chairman of the committee on private schools, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Many schools have declared bankruptcy and have had to lay off employees and stop taking in applications from new students for the second semester.”

Talib added that more private schools may close because the majority of parents have rejected increased tuition fees issued by the schools to cover the increase in salaries.

The majority of those schools which have already closed were girls’ schools, which face more difficulty in complying with the decision than boys’ schools, as they are required to have a higher percentage of Saudis in their employment.

There are 3,375 private schools for boys and girls across the kingdom, with a total intake of more than 600,000 students. These schools have 50,000 teachers, including approximately 29,000 Saudis.

Talib added that many parents may now decide to send their children to public schools instead.

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Posted by: Anon

This is about controlling the rising tide of discontent and growing resentment in KSA.

Posted by: Thamir Ghaslan

13 private schools shut down out of a total 3,375 and the comments make it seem like a big deal! This is below 1% of total private schools!

Survival of the fittest! All the weak performing establishments will be flushed out of the economy.

Saudization is here to stay and is going to get tougher, and expats can whine or be negative all they want.

I'm sure the government knows what its doing unlike expats who come from broken governments.

Posted by: Ahsan Al Ansari

Intoduction of minimum wage with back date sounds stupid!

Nothing wrong with Saudization, but, when these establishments are "flushed out", along with Expat teachers, Saudi teachers would be losing there jobs as well. Has the Saudi govt thought about this?

Posted by: Mickey rosenthal

This is nothing but Saudi arrogance. This has nothing to do with business. I believe in fair pay, but that also needs to include expat teachers since they do most of the work. Most of the Saudi teachers only teach one class and get paid more than their expat counterpart who teach sometimes 2 or 3 different subject classes. No wonder people leave Saudi and a lot of these Arab countries. The rules and regulations are not only ridiculous, they change like the weather.

Posted by: Vicky

It is important to think sensibly about the impacts and alternatives beore a decision is executed. Taking Procan's view further, I can say that Canada really goes through the public debate and due diligence before any decision. Minimum wage is well supported by the overall economic and taxation policy because it has cascading effect on various layers, as money tends to circulate rather than getting lost. I hope KSA learns to take a holistic view rather than appeasing to short term, narrow objectives.

Posted by: Tarek

A perfect example of the risks of doing business in such countries and the introduction of stupid and unfair regulation that can only create a lose- lose situation! Introducing the minimum wage may be ok, but why to make it backdated ?! This is a burden that no business in the world can take !

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