Jan 04 2012
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Ban on salesmen in lingerie stores to be enforced from Thursday
The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, but the ministry is emphasizing that the law will be implemented on Thursday.
The decision is a historical one as it will open the doors wide for women to enter the labor market. The ministry warned that it would launch a campaign to check these shops and make sure that only women work there. It added, that all arrangements have been made to enforce this rule.
Shops that do not employ women will be penalized, even banned from selling lingerie, the ministry stressed.
Jafar Al-Safwani, a businessman, told an Arabic newspaper that most of the shopping places that deal with women clothes in shopping malls have indeed started employing women. He added that many shop owners have organized special training courses for Saudi women. Unlike the case in Riyadh, owners of shops in Jeddah and Dammam do not find difficulties in recruiting Saudi women willing to work in such shops.
With the backing of Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih, the ministry said that only Saudi women are allowed to work in these places and they do not need a work permit from the Ministry of Labor or any other governmental body.
The ministry has also stipulated rules for these women-only shops. If the shop is only for women, then the inside of the shop should not be visible from the outside. In this case, men are not allowed in. However, if the shop is for families the inside should be visible from outside. Also, shop owners are not allowed to employ female and male workers in the same place unless the place is a multi-departmental shop. In this case the decision stipulates a minimum of three female workers to work in one shift.
If the place is not within a mall, the shop owner should provide security or a security system in the shop. Also these places should provide more than one toilet unless the place is within a shopping mall with a specialized toilets within 50 meters from the shop. The ministry stressed that working women should dress decently including the hijab or the uniform of the shop. In all cases, women's dress should not be transparent. Shopping places can also sell other women stuff such as readymade clothes, shoes, and cloaks. There should be a contract to guarantee working women rights including medical insurance.
Many people welcomed this decision claiming it to be a positive step while providing jobs for Saudi women. It also put an end to the embarrassment of women needing to buy their garments from men.
© Arab News 2012
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