By Sarah Townsend
Paydays to be based on Solar Hijiri calendar, not Gregorian as previously reported
State workers in Saudi Arabia are to be paid according to the Solar Hijiri calendar – the calendar most commonly used in Iran and Afghanistan – rather than the Gregorian calendar as previously reported, local media said on Tuesday.
The news creates some confusion over the exact dates on which Saudi civil servants will receive their pay.
It was reported only two weeks ago that the kingdom had adopted the Western Gregorian calendar for paying state employees as part of its austerity measures policy.
The decision to use the Gregorian rather than Islamic Hijiri calendar made the working month longer for Saudi government workers and also included the loss of 11 salary days.
Saudi Arabia had actually banned use of this calendar system for government departments and private companies back in 2012 because of the implications.
However, Saudi Gazette reported that state employees will now get their salaries on the fifth day of each Solar Hijiri month, which is different to the traditional Islamic Hijiri calendar.
The decision is intended to unify the dates between sector paydays, including those private sector firms using the Gregorian calendar, a source at the Ministry of Finance was quoted as saying.
The Solar Hijri calendar corresponds to each of the 12 zodiac signs and is considered more accurate than the Gregorian calendar as it follows astronomical calculations – based on the movement of the earth around the sun – rather than mathematical rules, according to the newspaper.
The first six months of the Solar Hijri calendar have 31 days, the next five months of the calendar have 30 days and the last month of the calendar has 29 days in regular years and 30 days in leap years.
At present, the Solar Hijiri year is 1395.