The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing at the Majlis Al Shura in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on March 1, 2010.

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura council has approved a recommendation to reduce working hours for jobs now barred to foreigners under the kingdom’s localisation drive.

The decision was made on Wednesday after members deliberated on a report from the House Committee of Social Affairs, Family and youth on amendments passed by the Council on Ministers.

The recommendation would see working hours in jobs now barred to foreigners, including in shops selling female-specific items, mobile phone accessories, gold and jewellery and retail outlets in malls, reduced to 40 hours a week.

It would also see workers receive one additional paid day of leave a week to make the roles more attractive to citizens.

In contrast, many of the foreign workers being replaced in these roles would work 45 hours or more a week.

The Saudization drive in key industries comes as the kingdom seeks to reduce the unemployment rate among nationals, which was 12.8 per cent in the third quarter.

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I am working here for past 7 years and working more than 54 hours a week , All private Companies is following same. Friday is the only holiday , Hope we also get 2 days off and work 40 hours a week.