Saudi King Earmarks $2.4 Billion to Pay Private-Sector Workers

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered up to 9 billion riyals ($2.4 billion) to be disbursed to pay part of the wages of private-sector workers to deter companies from laying off staff, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday. 

The latest measure to tackle the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak followed an emergency stimulus package announced last month to shore up the economy. 

“Instead of terminating the employment of a Saudi citizen, the employer has the right to ask social insurance to disburse as compensation 60 percent of his salary over a period of three months, with a maximum limit of nine thousand riyals (per employee) and with a total value of up to 9 billion riyals (2 billion pounds),” the SPA reported, citing a royal order. 

The stimulus announced last month by Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan included 70 billion riyals to be set aside to help businesses, with measures including exemptions and postponements of some government fees and taxes.