(MENAFN - Arab News) A working woman should be allowed to feed her newborn baby for a maximum of one hour a day for 24 months after she has given birth the ministry of labor has proposed.
in a document posted on its website for discussion the ministry said that this allowance should be made whether the woman is breastfeeding or not. the hour would be an added extra to her other normal break times during a working day.
the proposal also allows a woman to divide up the hour into three parts by either having it in the morning at the end of the working day or attached to her regular break times. these rules apply whether her company has a nursery or not.
the proposal states that a woman must inform her employer in writing about the division of her rest and nursing periods.
the proposal forms part of a royal decree ordering the ministry to protect the rights of women in the workplace.
the ministry said that the country's nitaqat program has seen the numbers of women in the workplace grow from 50000 to 450000.
on a related matter a study funded by the dean of scientific research at princess nora bint abdulrahman university conducted by ghada bint abdulrahman al-tareef an associate professor in social science found that women still face many challenges in the workplace because of local traditions and ignorance.
according to reports the study was carried out in the form of a questionnaire which was handed to a random sample of unemployed saudi women who had submitted applications to collect unemployment benefits from the human resources development fund's hafiz program. the sample comprised 600 unemployed women between the ages of 22 and 30.
in the study "obstacles against empowering saudi women in the labor market" al-tareef discovered that the majority of unemployed saudi women have university degrees.
a total of 57.9 percent of respondents were not aware of the role of women in terms of the country's development 56.2 percent said there was psychological pressure on women who want to take up unconventional jobs and 55.9 percent were unable to make decisions on career choice.
a total of 69.5 percent of respondents said that there were some customs and traditions stopping women from taking up certain positions with 68 percent saying that parents and guardians were not allowing them to work because of mixed gender workplaces.
a total of 68.3 percent said that long working hours were an obstacle and 57.1 percent cited male control over their education and work as obstacles.
other obstacles cited included low salaries in the private sector compared to government at 74.1 percent competition from expatriates at 73.2 percent unsuitable salaries at 71.2 percent lack of material awards and incentives at 64.8 percent and complicated administrative procedures while looking for work at 63.7 percent.
a total of 59.7 percent of respondents cited a lack of vocational guidance and 59.7 percent said there was insufficient information about market needs.
the study recommended that the government and private sector work together to deal with these difficulties particularly tackling cultural issues preventing women from working.
in another study conducted by the human resources development fund with a sample of women registered in the hafiz program and company officials 82 percent of the respondents said women work in the private sector because of a lack of government jobs while 77 percent said that women working in the private sector help to strengthen the national economy.
a total of 65 percent of the sample said the private sector gives women more experience than in government while 84 percent said that the families of the majority of working women benefit from their salaries. around 63 percent of women job seekers in the hafiz program expect to get jobs paying between sr3000 and sr5000 a month.
a total of 31 percent of respondents said women job seekers are waiting for work that suit their circumstances 13 percent said they do not know how to look for jobs 13 percent insist on jobs with specific preconditions while 9 percent said women are ready to accept any form of work.