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Saudi Arabia introduces unemployment insurance

Published on Jan 7, 2014 12:52 AM

RIYADH (REUTERS) - Saudi Arabia will introduce compulsory unemployment insurance this year for all citizens with jobs, the world's top oil exporter said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy that has no income tax, is trying to push more citizens into work to tackle long-term unemployment that officials see as unsustainable in light of high population growth and uncertainty over future oil revenue.

The introduction of unemployment insurance is designed to make it more attractive for young Saudis to seek jobs in private companies, where the starting salary and other benefits are less generous than in government jobs.

While the official unemployment rate is around 12 per cent, economists say only 30-40 per cent of working age adults participate in the labour force.

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