Private sector lifeline by Bahrain government hailed

12 sectors are set to benefit from the government’s generous gesture


The government move to help the private sector during these unprecedented times by paying 50 per cent of the salaries of insured Bahrainis for three months, starting from July was hailed by Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan.

Issuing the decision yesterday, Mr Humaidan said that 12 sectors are set to benefit from the government’s generous gesture.

The sectors include training and rehabilitation (including kindergartens), retail sector (excluding foodstuff), travel and tourism, restaurants and hospitality, personal services (salons, gyms and entertainment), local newspapers and magazines, administrative services (public relations, media and event organisers), industrial, health, transportation, real estate and engineering, technical and construction offices.

The minister thanked His Majesty King Hamad for his directives that continue to safeguard the health and safety of citizens and residents, and, at the same time, contribute to ensuring the sustainability of the national economy, by promoting a unified government response to Covid-19 and preventing liquidity strains.

He paid special tribute for the support of the Cabinet, chaired by His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and the continued support of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister.

The Social Insurance Organisation (SIO) will pay, from the Unemployment Insurance Fund, a maximum of 50pc of the salaries of Bahrainis working in private sector companies, provided they are insured at the end of June 2020, or is employed and insured through the National Employment Programme by the end of the month that precedes the date of disbursement.

Mr Humaidan said that the ministry will review the list of employers who benefited from the first financial and economic stimulus package and will determine the companies most adversely affected.

He added that the list of eligible companies will then be referred to the SIO to transfer the necessary payments during the fourth week of every month.

An urgent proposed amendment to transfer end-of-service payments on monthly instalments to the SIO was presented last night.

The amendment to the 2012 Private Sector Employment Law, proposed by five MPs led by MP Khalid Bu Onk, would see the payments dispensed by the SIO rather than the employer directly whenever a work contract was terminated or retirement age reached.

Those behind the proposal believe it could make the SIO BD200 million a year as it would provide the power to determine the one-off payment.

It comes as the government is suggesting trimming pension benefits and increasing contributions.

It will be referred tomorrow by Parliament chairwoman Fouzia Zainal to the services committee for review.

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